Breathing Exercises: The Underrated Life-Hack

I have to keep reminding myself this week to stop and breathe. Haven't you ever felt that way? You know, when life just keeps rolling like a conveyor belt no matter how many things you are trying to pick up and juggle, and it just seems like you can never catch a minute to take a breather. Make one! If you find yourself stressing, struggling to focus, or find it overwhelming to think about the next scary steps, the cavalry has arrived! (Enter, Breathing Exercises)

Really, Exercise?

Let's take a hard look at this, 'exercise' thing.

Defined as an activity that requires physical effort, carried out to improve health and fitness. Perhaps breathing might fall pretty far down the list of things you might think of when you imagine 'getting fit', but you'd be wise to reconsider. Mental health and wellness are just as much a part of your well-being, as your physical health.

If your leg gets wounded deep enough, we cast it up and take care of it for the next six to eight months. This is why when something hurts us on a mental level or strikes us so deep, that we need to take a second to process; take a moment to breathe. (Sometimes this extends farther than just breathing exercises, but right now, let's stick to some immidiate relief.)

4-7-8

This is a very common breathing exercise for anyone who has a minute and it's as simple to remember as the title. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just at the gum line, barely touching your teeth.

While continuing to do this, inhale through your nose for four seconds.

Hold your breath for a count of seven.

Exhale (audibly) through your mouth, for eight seconds.

After three or four times of this, you will be calmed, relaxed and less caught up in the heat of the moment.

It's all in the lips

This is a pursed lip breathing exercise, that optimized on what we know about the body. Though you breathe in and out every day, some air gets trapped in your lungs. By exhaling through pursed lips, you expel that trapped air. Simply concept with great results!

Breathe in for a simple one-two count.

Exhale through pursed lips for a count of four.

Repeat as needed or desired, usually about three or four does the trick for me.

Breath Counting

This one is another quick and easy exercise that anyone can do anywhere and not look like a duck.

Fall into your normal breathing pattern, and count up after every exhale.

Inhale

Exhale (One)

Inhale

Exhale (Two)

Easy right?

Granddaddy B.E. (Breathing Exercise)

For first-timers, it's recommended that you lay on your back for the first few attempts before you get the hang of the exercise. Place one hand on your stomach, just under the rib cage, and one on your chest. Proceed with what is known as Belly Breathing.

Inhale through your nose. Feel your stomach expand with air. Note that your chest should not rise or fall.

Exhale through your mouth. Using the hand on your stomach to gently push the air out.

The magic behind this exercise is the same as the pursed lips practice, using the pressure to help guide out any air trapped inside your lungs.

You have now completed Breathing Exercises 101! Congratulations! The best part is, you could have done every single one of them in the time it took you to read this post.

Now you can breathe a little easier, here in this life on the sober side.

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