By Nina Sonovia Brown, MS, LPC
Gain control over your life and go after your goals by controlling your breath. According to a Frontiers in Psychology study, belly breathing triggers the body’s relaxation responses, which can aid in improving mental and physical health. In just twenty sessions over an eight week period, participants in the study were able to reduce their stress levels and improve their attention span significantly. This breathing technique is also called “diaphragmatic breathing” or “deep breathing", and is considered to be an integral part of yoga practices.
Try it now: While sitting or standing, image a balloon is attached to your head and extend your spine. In as little as five breaths or as long as five minutes, relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders. Begin to breathe from your chest to fill your lungs with air. Relax and push the air out from your belly. You can also place your hands on your chest and abdomen to feel motion as you inhale and exhale with each breath.
There are multiple forms of diaphragmatic breathing. The use of one in another study seeking to treat anxiety found that this method is less invasive than drugs because it doesn’t involve using neurotransmitters in the brain. Controlled breathing has been shown to offset the harmful effect of stress and negative thought patterns.
Try it now: While sitting or standing, image a balloon is attached to your head and extend your spine. In as little as five breaths or as long as five minutes, relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders. Breath out a specific color and breath in a different color. Chose colors that represent things that you would like to get more of (breath in) and get rid of (breath out). Try this for one to five minutes daily.
Nina Sonovia Brown, MS, LPC is an Emotional Intelligence Expert for corporations, schools, and individuals. She is also a Mindfulness Teacher, College Professional, and CEO of Solonco, an emotional intelligence, and mindfulness training company.