We are often faced with situations in both our personal and professional life, over which we have no control, and they can make us feel bad but we can control how we react to them. When we are in a stressful situation, our natural response is that our diaphragm automatically flattens, forcing us to breathe shallowly, increasing our stress levels, and getting us ready to fight or to run away, not to think through a situation clearly. Therefore, recognizing the signs of stress and consciously controlling our breathing can help us stay calmer, and this allows us to use our brains better so we can think through the situation. In this way we improve our kokoro
Do you know how?…
How you breathe impacts every system in your body. Using deep-belly-breathing can help you de-stress and improve your overall well-being, which in turn will improve your personal and professional life. Incorporating this into a 10-minute daily practice can help you de-stress and stay more mindful.
The easiest way to do this is to lie on your back, with your hands on your abdomen. Take in deep, slow breaths, until you feel your hands rise. Take deep, purposeful breaths in through the nose, filling the diaphragm, and blowing out gently through the mouth. Try to focus exclusively on your breathing. If you feel the rise and the fall of your belly then you are filling your lungs completely and your diaphragm is moving down to give your lungs more room. Try to soften your shoulders, and release any other thoughts that might arise.
When you have mastered deep-belly-breathing, then you can add a twist. Take in a deep breath for a count of 3, hold for a count of 3, then slowly exhale for a count of 3, until you feel your hands lower. Repeat the process, breathing in for a count of 3, holding for a count of 3 and breathing out for a count of 3. Practice focusing on the breath as it flows in and out of your body pushing out all the other thoughts in your head. Then you can try doing this for a count of 4 or 5 and so on. By practising you will improve your ability to do this type of conscious breathing for longer counts over time, easily and naturally.
Using this method of breathing can help you relax when you are feeling stressed or anxious. The act of purposely breathing shifts your brain to a manual-override mode from an automatic-pilot mode resulting in a more mindful state. Filling your head with thoughts of breathing and relaxation take over the stressful thoughts and can help prevent anxiety from taking over. Learning this level of control is important when it comes to controlling our reactions to stressors.