Updated: Apr 16
Breathing well is a good thing. Here you will find a guide to diaphragmatic belly breathing, and a 5 minute practice.
Breathing is essential. We all know that. But we rarely get taught how to breathe. I won’t go into detail about all of the benefits of breathing well, but I will say that it can help us to:
Breathing well helps us to spend less time in a stressed state. It also helps us to process subtle and strong emotions. It won’t make all stress disappear, or all difficult emotions go away — that’s impossible. But it will help us deal with them more effectively.
Below you will find a 10 step guide, and two recordings, one introducing breathing and the ten steps, and a five minute practice. If you would like to get better at breathing, please take the time to read, listen, and (most importantly) practice.
10 STEPS TO BETTER BREATHING
To train yourself in good breathing, otherwise known as abdominal, belly or diaphragmatic breathing, follow these 10 steps:
Place one hand on your chest, and one hand on your belly. (You won’t always have to do this, but it can help in the beginning).
Breathe out your mouth, breathing all the air from your lungs.
Take a deep breath in your nose.
Notice where your body moves the most. Is it your chest and shoulders, or your belly? (If it is your chest and shoulders, you might be in the habit of chest breathing).
Relax your chest and and shoulders. Relax your belly.
Breathe into your lower lungs, letting your belly expand. It's normal for this to feel a bit strange or difficult to start with.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as you are breathing, that’s good. With practice, over time it will start to feel more normal.
Breathe following this pattern: Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 2, out for 4, hold for 2, and repeat.
When your mind wanders, notice where it went, and bring it back to your breathing. Remember, you aren’t trying to create a certain state; you are just trying to breathe well, pay attention to your breathing, and notice what your mind is doing. That’s all.
Practice for 2–5 minutes, three times a day, for at least a week. Like any new skill, breathing takes practice, so please do put in the time.
5 MINUTE PRACTICE
Here is a recording to talk you through a five minute breathing practice.
Changing old breathing habits takes time and effort, but it is definitely worth it. If you give it a go please let me know how you find it, and if you have any feedback at all please send me an email, I’d love to hear your thoughts.