Breathing is a natural process that we all do, but most of us don’t think about it. How often do you take the time to breathe deeply and slowly? Breathing is an essential part of life, so let’s make sure we’re doing it correctly! It is one technique that teaches us how to use our breath effectively to reduce stress and tension.
This blog post will introduce breathing methods for relaxation that can be applied in any situation. The technique is very simple and allows you to relax while remaining alert. It can be done at any time and in any location, and it is absolutely safe.
This method is called the 4/6 Breathing Method because of the timing involved. You can do it by simply inhaling thru your nose on a slow count of 4. Pause briefly the exhale through your nose or mouth on a slow count of 6 and pause again. The pause should be natural and gentle. Do not strain or ‘hold’ your breath. Repeat this 10-20 times and see how you feel.
Because our nervous system has two major states, this Breathing Method works. The first is our Sympathetic response, which is our Fight or Flight mode, and the second is our Parasympathetic response, which is our Rest and Digest mode. Inhaling is sympathetic, whereas exhaling is parasympathetic. As a result, by slightly lengthening the exhalation, we begin to shift into a more relaxed state. In the same way, nasal breathing is more parasympathetic, whereas mouth breathing is more sympathetic. That is why, on this breath, we inhale through the nose.
Why are we inhaling through our noses? We can either inhale and exhale through our nose or inhale and exhale through our mouth. However, when we are upset or out of breath, we tend to breathe through our mouth in order to cool down because we are in fight or flight mode.
At first, some people find it difficult to breathe that slowly, following the 4/6 breath method. It’s okay as anyone can also start with a 3/5 breath and work your way up to 4/6. 5/7 also works; the key is to make the exhale longer and slower than the inhale without becoming stressful. Just keep in mind that if you’re getting ready for bed and trying to sleep, don’t slow down your breathing any more than 5/7 or so.
So whether you’re stressed, anxious, or need a break from the hustle and bustle of life, a proper breathing method is one great way to find peace. It’s simple, can be done anywhere at any time, and has been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease anxiety levels. Be sure to practice it regularly so that you’ll find yourself relying on it when your stress starts building up again!