How often do you pay attention to your breath? I mean, really pay attention to it? Do you notice the temperature of the air as it comes in or out, the length of your inhale or exhale, or which nostril gets more air than the other at a given moment?
Most of us don’t pay a lot of attention to these things. Breathing is automated, after all — we don’t need to think about it to do it. So why would we pay a lot of attention to something that happens without our thinking about it, especially when so many other things seem to require our attention much more?
But there are many good reasons to pay attention to your breath — or to engage in conscious breathing, as it’s called.
Conscious breathing is an important method for maintaining your well-being. Luckily, anyone can learn the technique and use it on a regular basis to strengthen both mental and physical health. It’s easy!
Let’s discover more about this powerful health strategy.
What is conscious breathing?
Conscious breathing is becoming aware of the way you take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide from your body. It’s just paying attention to your breathing.
While you can certainly take dedicated time out of your day to focus on conscious breathing, you don’t have to. It’s possible to use this technique during your normal activities.
There are different types of conscious breathing methods, but they all have similar aspects.
Enjoy these mental benefits of conscious breathing
Conscious breathing can decrease stress and give you inner peace. It can help you focus during difficult moments.
It can reduce fear, worry, and anxiety. It can help you deal with daily conflicts and issues.
Conscious breathing can help your mind by giving it enough oxygen to focus and strengthen your concentration. It can have a positive impact on memory and test results such as exams in school.
See its impact on your body
Conscious breathing makes a positive impact on your overall health:
○ Practicing conscious breathing on a regular basis can strengthen lung function and reduce asthma. It may not be able to reverse all damage or issues, and it certainly can’t replace appropriate medical care, but it can make a difference.
○ Conscious breathing can also positively affect the cardiovascular system. Your body needs a constant flow of oxygen to function properly. By getting more oxygen, circulation and blood flow improves.
○ Conscious breathing forces you to breathe through your nose. Breathing through the nose is healthier. It can make your mouth less dry. A dry mouth can cause tooth decay and affect the overall health of the tongue.
○ You might even reduce or eliminate snoring because, when you snore, you’re breathing through your open mouth. Even your relationships may improve with a decrease in snoring!
○ Conscious breathing can enhance your sleep and give you energy.
○ Conscious breathing can also affect your weight. Deep breathing can reduce snoring, which can affect the hunger hormones. When you snore, you don’t get enough rest, so the hunger hormones increase and cause weight gain.
How to practice conscious breathing
Conscious breathing requires you to focus on how you breathe. It makes you think about the process and regulate it. Conscious breathing forces you to live in the moment and enjoy it. This, of course, makes it an excellent mindfulness practice.
You can become more aware of the process by putting your hand on your stomach. Relax and breathe in deeply through your nose. As you breathe in, your abdomen will rise. Then, pause and exhale gently. You can feel your abdomen go back down as you exhale.
You can even practice conscious breathing using various rhythms and patterns. Breathe faster or slower, shallowly or deeply, make your inhale longer than your exhale and then reverse it, take two inhales and one exhale or vice versa. All of these things help you bring more awareness not only to the breath in the present moment, but to the different ways you might breathe under stress or in other situations.
Try conscious breathing in a quiet room or area. Avoid interruptions from phones or other devices. Not only does this allow you to fully focus on your breathing, but it also allows you to hear it more clearly. You might notice new sounds to your breath that you wouldn’t otherwise.
Combining meditation with conscious breathing makes the technique even more effective. While it’s great that you can do conscious breathing while doing other things, meditation heightens your awareness of the breath and allows you to really feel the difference it makes as you’re doing it and after you’re done.
Conscious breathing is a teachable process that is easy to learn. It can have a positive influence on many aspects of your life. It’s so easy to do, how can you not give it a try?
Wendy Miller is a Single Mom Coach & meditation teacher. She helps moms use mindfulness and meditation to create the life they really want. She lives in Florida with her two sons, where she homeschools while solo parenting, while surrounded by what feels like a zooful of animals.
You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. You can also sign up for her newsletter where she offers more insights, tips, tricks, advice, and information to help single moms find purpose, creativity, passion, and peace.
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