‘A great analogy we use with our clients to encourage them to work on their breathing is a glass of muddy water,’ write expert life coaches Shannah Kennedy and Lyndall Mitchell in their book Chaos to Calm. ‘When you allow it time to settle and be still, the sediment all sinks to the bottom and you have clear water. By taking the time to reset your breathing throughout the day you allow the mud of your mind to settle, giving yourself a pause and enabling clear, calm, and confident thoughts to flow.’
Straight from the pages of Chaos to Calm, below Kennedy and Mitchell offer two quick, effective methods for hitting ‘reset’ on your day.
The fastest way to start relaxing is to consciously sigh. It reverses almost all the signs of tense breathing. The big in-breath opens the tight chest muscles. The most time-efficient meditation you can do is called ‘the three sighs’. It takes about twenty seconds and is a classical spot meditation that is versatile and portable.
#1: THE THREE SIGHS
Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest.
Take three slow, deep breaths.
Feel your left hand rise and fall, and sigh on the exhalation. (There should be hardly any movement in your right hand as you breathe.)
Lengthen and align your spine to allow your lungs to fill with oxygen.
Breathe in deeply, and this time sigh on the out-breath.
Take another deep breath in and sigh.
Take a deep breath and bring your awareness back to the present.
Feel what it feels like to be breathing using your full lung capacity.
#2: ONE-MINUTE BREATHING FOR MUSCLE RELEASE
Take some long, slow, deep breaths.
As you breathe in feel your belly rise, and as you breathe out, feel your belly fall.
Now take your awareness to your shoulders and with every out-breath, allow your shoulders to relax, releasing any tension.
Move your awareness to your jaw and facial muscles and with every out-breath allow your jaw and facial muscles to soften and relax.
These are simple techniques that are portable and easy to use. The breath connects you back to your true, authentic self. It assists in slowing down the engine of your brain so you can take some control and step off the treadmill of life for a moment.
Deep breathing is a great way to stay calm and focused during the day. It’s all about the small steps to success – one deep breath is better than none. Take a pause during the day and integrate the breathing trigger that works best for you.