Let’s Take a Breather

Practicing mindful breathing for just a few minutes a day can be a useful tool in helping you ride the uncertain waves in today’s world.

A Registered Provisional Psychologist who works at the school district level specializing in psychoeducational assessments and school-based intervention.

In today’s world, we are facing new and more challenges than ever before. “I feel out of place without my routine.” “I’m feeling swamped with balancing work, learning at home, and my family.” “I’m feeling the financial pressure.” “I miss my family and friends.” “I’m worried what will happen.” “How am I supposed to add anything else into my already busy day?” Take a moment to appreciate these challenges, remember we are all in this together, and be proud of yourself that you are building a toolbox to help thrive in these times. When building your toolbox, have you thought about how simply breathing can become a quick, yet powerful tool designed to help with your everyday worries and stress?

The old saying, “just breathe,” may sound a little cliché, but research has shown that mindful breathing has powerful positive effects on our mental health and wellbeing. Mindful breathing helps us in regulating our emotions by encouraging us to be aware in the present moment, without being judgemental or critical of our experience. It helps to reduce feelings of stress, worry, sadness, and even anger, while also building compassion, empathy, and resiliency. Do you wake up in the morning and already feel overwhelmed or uneasy about what the day may bring? Take 5 minutes to mindfully breathe before getting out of bed. Your breath can become an anchor to the present moment by allowing you to disconnect from your uncertainties and reconnect to calm and gentle thinking.

Practicing mindful breathing for just a few minutes a day can be a useful tool in helping you ride the uncertain waves in today’s world. Whether you take 5 minutes to start your day off right, 5 minutes to rebalance you throughout the day, or 5 minutes at the end of your day to unwind. You’d be surprised how powerful 5 minutes can be!

Now the question is, how do I do mindful breathing? Do I just breathe? Is there a special trick? The short video below will help you to learn how to practice mindful breathing.

Another great thing about mindful breathing is that it is beneficial for all ages, including children. By teaching your children easy mindful breathing techniques, you can make mindful breathing a family practice. Check out the video below for a kid-friendly version of mindful breathing.

Tips on Mindful Breathing

Here are some tips and key takeaways to help you develop the practice of mindful breathing in your everyday life

  • Find a relaxed, comfortable position that works best for you. You might be sitting in a chair or on your couch, you may be sitting in your parked car, you could even be in your backyard or on a park bench.
  • Become curious about your sensations. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling in my body right now?” If you notice any of your body parts are tight or tense, relax them.
  • Tune into your breathing. Take a deep breath in through your nostrils, hold your breath, and have a long exhale out through your mouth.
  • Your hands can be your friend. Placing your hands on your belly and feeling your belly expand and relax can help with your breath.
  • Be kind to your wandering mind. If your mind wanders, that is okay, it is natural. Simply acknowledge that your mind has wandered and gently redirect your attention back to your breath.
  • Practice daily. Mindful breathing is most beneficial when practiced daily, including practice during times when you aren’t stressed or worried.
  • It’s kid-friendly. Children may refer to mindful breathing in a variety of ways, such as belly breathing, rainbow breathing, or star breathing (the list goes on and on).

Challenge

Today I challenge you to look at the old saying “just breathe” with a new sense of appreciation. Use the videos and try out the tool below to help you master the beginning steps of mindful breathing. If it’s right for you, add it to your toolbox. Now is the time, let’s take on mindful breathing together!

via GIPHY

Kendra Epping
A Registered Provisional Psychologist who works at the school district level specializing in psychoeducational assessments and school-based intervention.