Life is a constant whirlwind of responsibilities, challenges, and unexpected twists and turns. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and disconnected from our inner selves. But what if I told you that there’s a simple yet powerful tool at your disposal to navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and resilience? It’s called conscious breathing, and here’s how to use conscious breathing and how it changed my life and gave me complete inner calm.
What is conscious breathing?
Do you ever have to think about how to breathe? No, because it comes naturally. It happens without us even having to think about it for one second. Conscious breathing is taking the time to sit down and focus on the one thing you never have to think about. Breathing. Take a moment, sit down, and focus on every breath you take. Feeling the air enter and leave your lungs. It brings a sense of calmness over your entire body. The core idea is to become fully present in the moment by observing and controlling your breath intentionally.
How to use conscious breathing.
Find a routine that best works for you. Everyone is different and something that works for me, might not work the same for you. But here’s how I practice conscious breathing.
- Find a quiet space: Find somewhere quiet spot where you can sit down and relax. Somewhere with little to no distractions.
- Get comfortable: Whether it’s sitting or lying down. Find a position that you’ll be able to stay in comfortably for a few minutes.
- Focus on your breathing: Close your eyes and feel the sensation of every breath you take. Feel your lungs filling with air and then leaving your lungs again.
- Take note of your body: Feel your diaphragm rise and fall. Feel every change within your body as you breathe.
- Deepen your breaths: Change the way you breath. Take a deep breathe in and exhale all the way out again through your mouth. Feel every sensation.
- Bring your mind back if it wanders: It’s completely normal for your mind to start wandering. Bring yourself back to your breathing and try to let go of distractions.
- Set a timer: When you first start practicing conscious breathing, start with only 2-4 minutes and work yourself up to longer time intervals. It gets easier the more you practice.
- Find a technique that works for you: There are multiple different breathing techniques you can use. Do some research and find what works best for you.
The benefits of practicing conscious breathing.
Mindful breathing can have many more benefits than just pure relaxation. In fact, I use conscious breathing as my starting point for meditation and visualization. I also use conscious breathing as a quick release from a stressful situation.
There is no better way to get rid of stress than using conscious breathing. The calmness that rushes through your entire body is beyond comprehension. When you engage in conscious breathing, you activate your body’s relaxation response. This helps to reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. By focusing on your breath, you can release muscle tension and create a sense of calm, which is especially effective during stressful situations.
When I first started practicing conscious breathing, I could barely go a minute without thinking about something else. After a few sessions, I’ve been able to focus for longer periods of time and it keeps getting easier. Practicing consistent conscious breathing can enhance your ability to concentrate and stay present in the moment.
Being fully engaged in the present, becomes more accessible when you anchor your attention to your breath. This is particularly beneficial for improving focus and productivity in work or study.
Many people struggle with racing thoughts and restlessness at bedtime. I know I do thanks to running after my boys most of the day. Conscious breathing can be an effective way to calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep. By engaging in slow, deep breaths before bedtime, you can reduce the activity of your sympathetic nervous system and promote a state of relaxation conducive to falling asleep.
Enhanced physical health.
While you might not think that breathing can affect your physical health, it can have a major effect on your body. It can help lower blood pressure, improve lung function, and promote better digestion. Deep, controlled breathing supports the efficient exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body, contributing to improved physical health. Getting your body into a healthy routine is also a step in the right direction for being the healthiest version of yourself.
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An increase in self-awareness.
As you continue to practice conscious breathing, you’ll develop a deeper sense of self-awareness. You become more attuned to your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This heightened self-awareness can lead to a better understanding of your inner world and a greater capacity for personal growth and positive change. I for one have learnt quite a few things about myself. Who knew I would get to know me?
Enhanced emotional regulation.
I have grown stronger when it comes to dealing with my emotions. Controlling what I feel and when to feel it. Conscious breathing can help you manage and regulate your emotions too. When you are more mindful of your breath, you become more attuned to your emotional responses.
This heightened self-awareness allows you to respond to emotions with greater control, rather than reacting impulsively. You can make more thoughtful choices in challenging or triggering situations.
How to use conscious breathing is a simple practice that can change the way you experience and respond to life. By using your breath as a constant anchor and a source of inner peace, you can navigate the challenges and joys of life with greater clarity and resilience. Try adding conscious breathing into your daily routine, and watch as it transforms your life in ways you never imagined.
Your Wellness Warrior!