Wellbeing: Deep Belly Breathing

A great technique for helping to calm both body and mind is to do some deep belly breathing. To do this, we use the diaphragm - the body's main breathing muscle. When you breathe from your diaphragm, you're breathing deeply. When we're feeling stressed or uptight, we tend to take shallow breaths from the chest, which keeps the body in a state of tension. When we take deep breaths, we send a message to the brain that all is well, so the body can relax. This can then help us get off to sleep. Sit upright Place one hand lightly on your diaphragm (just under your ribcage). Place the other hand lightly on your chest. Think of your diaphragm as a balloon that fills as you breathe in, and empties as you breathe out. Notice the hand on your diaphragm rise as you inhale. The hand on your chest shouldn't move. Now, hold for two counts, with your belly filled with air. Try not to close your throat. Instead, control the breath from your diaphragm. Count to yourself: 1-2. With a slow breath out through your mouth, count to yourself 1-2-3-4-5. Purse your lips as the breath escapes. Push all the air out of your belly. Keep sitting tall. Keep your focus on your breathing. Notice the hand on your diaphragm fall with your breath. Now, hold for two counts: 1-2. Remember to keep your throat soft. Control is from the diaphragm. Repeat several times until you feel calm and relaxed. *Mentemia app

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