Watercolor illustration of a lungs with flowers, bronchial tree, healthy lungs, watercolor spring print, green leaves

Breathing is one of those things that we take for granted.  We all need to breathe to survive, sure, but what if we thought about breathing as something we need to heal?  

Our breath directly connects to our consciousness and immediately reflects our thoughts and feelings.  When we are relaxed and calm, we breathe slowly, evenly and deeply into the bigger bottom part of our lungs. The moment we become anxious, worried, frightened, stressed, alarmed or feel threatened in any way, our breathing changes. Our breath becomes uneven, shallow, and rapid, and often we even hold our breath. This can happen whether there is an external danger or just from our own thoughts and feelings of our inner world.

How can we use our breath to de-stress?

Our respiratory system and breathing function automatically if we don’t pay attention to them.  If we focus our awareness on our breath, we can easily begin to change how we breathe.  Because we have control over our breathing and we are able to use our breath to help us regulate the state we are in emotionally, physically and psychologically. 

We all have the ability to connect with our breath, to not only function but to use it as an effective tool when we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or in need of grounding when we feel destabilized.  When we breathe consciously, it can transport us out of the thinking mind and deeper within.  The brain and the body become more balanced and calm and create an opportunity to drop into your experience – notice – and respond instead of react from a place of activation – flight, flight or freeze.

Below is a short video of Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique; this technique will help you settle your nervous system in order to create an opportunity to drop into your experience and notice:

Dr. Weil explains how to do his 4-7-8 breathing technique. Relaxing Breathing Exercise