Just Keep Breathing
Have you heard the phrase “just breathe”? Of course you have. This is the most common advice given during stressful times, worrisome times or even the happy-excited times. It is a phrase that is so easy to say and seems easy enough to do; however, for many of us that is not always the case. Let’s talk about how to “just breathe.”
Breathing is a powerful tool we can use anytime to bring us back to the present moment and restore a state of peace. We can’t always control what is happening around us, but we can control our response to it. With mindful meditation, areas of the brain that keep stress under control get bigger with more neural pathways, while areas of the brain that initiate stress get weaker and slightly smaller. After two weeks of practicing mindful meditation for 12 to 20 minutes each day, cortisol levels fall. After two months the brain starts to re-wire itself.
Start by sitting in a comfortable position.
You can keep your eyes open or closed. People tend to find it easier to focus by starting with their eyes closed.
Make no effort to control your breath, simply breathe naturally at whatever rate you normally would.
The goal isn’t to stop thinking or to empty the mind. Focus your attention on your breath and continue to breathe naturally.
Pay attention to your physical sensations, thoughts and emotions in order to see them more clearly, without making judgments. Notice the movement of your body with each exhale and inhale.
Bottom Line: Breathing is a quick and easy tool to kick start being mindful in any situation.
Written by: Kelsey Bird, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern