31 Days of Holiday Self-Care, Day 16, Practice a Deep-Breathing Technique

So my office, of all places, has started offering twice-weekly guided meditation sessions. I go as often as I can, which is to say, I go rarely. It’s a sad irony that I can only attend the helpful stress-reduction classes on the days my schedule is relatively open and stress-free.

When I do attend, I’ve found the sessions to be surprisingly relaxing and I’ve been pleased at how easy it has been to drop into a meditative state even though the classes are held in a noisy room in a corner of our company gym during the middle of the day. It’s amazing what you can tune out when you’re really deeply tuning into your own body.

So, of course, you’ll be expecting to me to say that I’ve started my own meditative practice at home. Yeah, no, not yet. I’m absolutely sold on the benefits, but I think starting out with the training wheels of a person walking me through it has actually made me a little wary of doing it on my own. I’m interested in the Headspace app because it seems like a good way of getting past that fear. Perhaps that can be a New Year’s Self-Care Project.

In the meantime, I’ve been practicing with some deep breathing exercises during times I feel a bit stressed. There are two that I use fairly frequently and I find them both helpful.

The first technique is a yoga technique called Pranayama, or alternate nostril breathing. This YouTube video explains the basics.

Alternate nostril breathing is supposed to relieve anxiety and calm and center the mind for clearer thinking. If you ever find yourself in a circle of crazy thinking, stopping for a bit of alternate nostril breathing should help get you back on the right track. This method of breathing is also supposed to bring increased energy so it’s not a good choice for right before bed.

If you want to calm down before bed, then try 4-7-8 breathing as shown in this video with Dr. Andrew Weill.

This form of breathing is also supposed to help with anxiety and relaxation.

Do you have a deep breathing exercise you like to do? I’d love to hear about it.

This is part of my 31 Days of Holiday Self-Care Challenge. To see all the posts in this series, visit here.

2 Comments

  1. Laura Riddehof
    December 16, 2016 / 5:54 pm

    Good advice Katy. I, too meditate often throughout the day, I have attached an article that describes the STOP method, really great in getting me to slow down and be more aware of what’s around me throughout the day. The first part of the article is more about Zen, but scroll down to the STOP, Tune In, Open, Proceed section for some great advice on daily stress reduction.
    http://www.lionsroar.com/dharma-gates-are-everywhere-says-melissa-blacker/?utm_source=Lion%27s+Roar+Newsletter&utm_campaign=6a8c7ff133-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_12_14&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1988ee44b2-6a8c7ff133-21428017&goal=0_1988ee44b2-6a8c7ff133-21428017&mc_cid=6a8c7ff133&mc_eid=32c833a843

    • Katy
      December 16, 2016 / 6:15 pm

      Wow this is so great. Thanks for sharing this.

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