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The Magic of Breath: Find Calm in Every Inhale

deep breaths

Have you ever stopped to appreciate the wonder of your breath? It's an automatic process that keeps us alive, yet we also have the power to control it. This simple act can become a powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety.

When your mind wanders, your breath becomes shallow. By bringing your awareness back to your breath, you're essentially pulling yourself back into the present moment. This shift in focus activates your parasympathetic nervous system, the part responsible for relaxation. It's like sending a "safe signal" to your brain, calming your body and mind.

Feeling stressed after a long day or overwhelmed by physical pain? Notice your breath. It's likely become shallow or even held altogether. These are natural survival instincts, preparing your body to react. But when the stress is from deadlines, not dangers, this reaction isn't helpful.

Deep, mindful breaths are the key to unlocking relaxation. Here are a few techniques to try to find the magic of your breath:

  • Deep Belly Breaths: Breathe in slowly through your nose, feeling your belly inflate before your chest. Exhale slowly through pursed lips. Repeat for 2-5 minutes.

  • Long Exhales: Inhale for a count of four, hold for two, and exhale for a count of six. Focus on a smooth, controlled exhale. Repeat for 2-5 minutes. (Pregnant women: skip the breath holding if it makes you feel lightheaded.)

  • Alternate Nostril Breathing: (Optional: clear your nasal passages with a quick sniff of peppermint or eucalyptus oil.) Close your right nostril and inhale through your left. Close your left nostril and exhale through your right. Inhale through your right, close it, and exhale through your left. That's one round. Repeat for 5-8 rounds. This technique is believed to balance the brain's hemispheres.

By incorporating these simple breathing exercises into your daily routine, you can tap into your body's natural relaxation response and find calm whenever you need it most.

Wishing you calm,

Nasreen xx


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