Deep breathing is a time-proven technique that not only fosters relaxation but also serves as a powerful ally in managing panic attacks and improving sleep quality. The beauty lies in its simplicity—easy-to-follow steps that can be seamlessly incorporated into your daily routine, allowing you to experience the benefits anywhere you go.
- Find a comfortable sitting or standing position. You can do this anywhere, whether you’re at your desk, on public transportation, or in a stressful situation.
- Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so. If not, simply lower your gaze and soften your focus.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to four as you inhale. Feel the breath filling your lungs, expanding your chest and abdomen.
- Hold your breath for a count of four.
- Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of six. As you exhale, release any tension you may be holding.
- Repeat this cycle of deep breaths (inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 6) for several rounds. Focus your attention solely on your breath and the sensation of it entering and leaving your body. Let go of any thoughts or distractions as you breathe.
- After a few minutes of this practice, gradually return your awareness to the present moment, open your eyes (if closed), and notice how you feel. You should feel calmer and more centered.
Deep breathing is best done as a regular daily practice. Try using deep breathing at important transition moments in your day, such as when you are leaving for or arriving home from work, when you wake up as part of starting the day, or as part of your going to bed routine.
Apps that guide you through the correct pacing of deep breathing can be useful when you are just starting out. One of our favorites is the iBreathe app, available for Iphone by clicking or scanning the QR code.