#Breathing. It keeps us alive.

The trees around us take in our carbon dioxide and return oxygen to us. It’s life at its core.

Our breath is directly correlated to our heartbeats and that is connected to our sense of wellbeing (for example, when our breath is quick and hard to catch, our heart rate tends to increase as does that feeling of dread aka stress, anxiety, anger and unease)

Being more aware of our breath and when it changes is a top priority if you want to stay in control of the times when it can take over your emotions or temperament. You know the times, when you want to settle down stress and alleviating anxiety. Although that’s easier said than done, it’s essential if you want to be in possession of the all powerful calm.

here are some beginner tips for learning how to recognize off breathing and then coming back to your breath:

  • Set an alarm on your phone every hour or so to remind yourself to pause, check and come back to your breath.
  • If you find yourself more stressed in the car, why not try and take a few deep breathes at every red light.
  • When you’re dreading a meeting or appointment, give yourself a few conscious minutes before (during and after) to place your hand to your chest and really feel yourself breathe in and out- do this slowly.
  • Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as relaxing breath, which involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding that breath for 7 seconds, and then exhaling for 8 seconds. (this pattern has been known to help reduce anxiety)

One trick I find that’s useful in breaking the uneven and debilitating breath that can come with anxiety is to focus on an activity that will take your mind and breath away from the emotion. A full-body activity works best, something like dancing, running, yoga or meditation.

During the next 5 days, I hope you can practice these tips and start becoming more aware of your breath, the times when you’re holding onto your breath, notice the times when your breath is quick, shallow or hard to catch, and then take a moment to move it back into calm.

You’ll soon know how your body feels when your breathing is calm and centred so that you can bring yourself back to that throughout the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

Before you get out of bed or tuck yourself in for the night, take a moment to reflect on your breathing during the day and while you’re at it, make this a special time to be conscious with your breath again.