You wake up at 6 AM, make your coffee, and hurry out the door. You’re late for a meeting. Somehow, you make it through lunch only to dredge through the rest of the afternoon. You finish your workday at 5 PM, sit through the long commute home, eat some dinner, and get ready for bed before you do it all again tomorrow.
This grind of modern work is a cycle many people want to break out of. But how can you turn the focus inward and get a moment away from the hustle? The answer is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a very old practice currently experiencing a comeback. In our busy, technology-filled world, it’s important to take a step back and just breathe. This is where mindfulness starts: with the breath.
The Origins of Mindful Breathing
Most people believe that Buddhists and yoga practitioners started the practice of mindfulness thousands of years ago. With their emphasis on mindful breathing, this hypothesis makes sense.
From yoga sessions to Zen meditation, these breathing exercises are everywhere. Now it’s popular because of the ease it adds to our busy modern lives.
The Benefits of Mindful Breathing
Adding mindful breathing to your routine benefits your daily life in many ways. Here are a few of the main perks:
Mindful breathing places the focus on your breath and takes the focus away from your emotions. While you take deep breaths and relax your body, you see your emotions more objectively.
Release of Physical Tension
You let go of the physical tension in your body when you practice mindful breathing. Deep breaths relax your muscles and can reduce your heart rate.
Extra Energy and Focus
Mindful breathing gives your brain a break. Your thoughts no longer race and distract you. Instead, you get some valuable time to recharge. This gives you an energy boost and makes it easier to focus on other tasks.
The Science of Mindful Breathing
The study of mindfulness and mindful breathing practices is relatively recent. A 2017 study linked mindful breathing with a calming effect on mental activity. In 2018, scientists studied the connection between mindful breathing and one’s ability to focus. As this practice gains popularity, even more studies will prove the connection between mindful breathing and the way your brain functions. Take advantage of these effects by learning how you can start your own breathing practice.
Mindful Breathing: How to Begin
A mindful breathing session doesn’t always mean taking an hour for intense meditation. It’s about taking an amount of time that works for you to calm down, live in the moment, and observe your feelings instead of letting them control you.
Find a Comfortable Place to Sit
First, find a quiet place where you can relax and sit or lie down. Make yourself comfortable. If you need it, sit on a pillow or use a blanket if you’re cold. You don’t need a special meditation room. Any comfortable place is fine.
Set a Timer
Start small. Set a timer for just two minutes if that’s all you can handle at first. Then, close your eyes and get ready to focus solely on your body and your breathing.
Count or Use a Mantra
You sat in a comfortable spot and set a timer. Now, it’s time to just breathe. Counting your breaths is one way to reset your focus. You can also try a mantra. Mantras are short phrases or words that you repeat during meditation. They range from old Sanskrit sentences to contemporary positive affirmations. To find a mantra that works for you, you can look for one on the internet or make one up for yourself.
If counting or using a mantra is not enough to keep you focused, you can try a guided meditation. In a guided meditation, a voice talks you through your breathing practice, giving you something to focus on. Download a meditation app on your phone or use a YouTube video.
Making Mindful Breathing a Habit
Practicing five minutes of mindful breathing may help you feel better for a day. practicing these breathing exercises every day can change your whole life. You can manage anxiety, stress, and other difficult emotions with much more clarity when you meditate daily. Give it a try. Savoring every breath you take only has positive side effects.
To improve your health even further, read more about lifestyle and wellness trends.