Do you find you have to fuel up with caffeine to get through your day? Are you overwhelmed by stress and can't cope with it? We live in a world where stress and lack of sleep are commonplace. The cycle of inadequate sleep leads to tired, stressed-out days.
Maybe it’s time to take a breath. In this article, Jay Shetty explains that breath has been connected to everything you do since the day you were born. Things in life change, but your breath is a constant. “When you're happy your breath changes,” Jay Shetty says. “When you're sad, your breath changes. Your breath is connected to every emotion in your life. If you know how to navigate your breath, you will know how to navigate life.”If you want to learn how you can sleep deeper, manage stress, calm your nerves and reduce anxiety, read on for the four habits related to your breath that you can implement into your day right now.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique
The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique has been shown to be helpful when you need to feel grounded in the moment. It is easy to be somewhere physically while you’re somewhere else emotionally or mentally. This technique allows you to be fully present in the moment. To use this technique, Jay Shetty recommends following these steps.First, find five things you can see but not touch. It can be the ceiling or floor of the room you are in, the sky, or the branches of a tree. Take a deep breath and think about the five things you are seeing. Second, find four things you can touch. This can be the clothes you are wearing or the seat you are sitting in. Pay attention to how the air feels in the room. Is it hot or cold? Take in all the details as you continue to take deep breaths. Third, listen for three things you can hear. Maybe it’s the air conditioner or the sound of your breathing. Are there conversations happening around you? Think about these things as you continue to breathe deeply. Fourth, think about two things you can smell. What fragrance fills your senses? Fifth, identify one thing you can taste. As you continue to breathe through each of these five things, the moment you’re in comes into focus, and you can be present in it. You can apply this technique any time during your day to help you feel more centered and grounded.
Breathing seems so simple you may wonder why you need to worry about how you breathe, but as Jay Shetty explains, breathing techniques can have a tremendous effect on a person. Diaphragmatic breathing may be a technique that you have never heard of, but it’s worth learning about.The diaphragm is the large muscle that sits below your lungs and helps move the air in and out of your lungs. We have always been taught to breathe by moving air in and out of the lungs, but normal breathing doesn't require you to fully engage your lungs, leading to shallow breathing. “Diaphragmatic breathing allows you to have deeper, more powerful breaths where your lungs are actually benefiting from the process,” Jay Shetty says. “Diaphragmatic breathing is deep and fully engages the diaphragm. It increases the efficiency of the lungs.”Diaphragmatic, or belly breathing, involves fully engaging the stomach and the abdominal muscles. To try diaphragmatic breathing, lie down on the floor and place your left hand on your stomach and your right hand on your chest. Breathe in through your nose, drawing breath toward your stomach. As you breathe in, you're going to feel your belly expand out against your hand as your chest stays still. When you breathe out through your mouth, your stomach will go in.When you feel overwhelmed or rushed, diaphragmatic breathing helps lower your heart rate and blood pressure, reducing the oxygen demand and allowing you to feel more relaxed. Jay Shetty also encourages the use of this technique to help improve your sleep.
Feeling stressed or pressured by the people around you can be mentally challenging and overwhelming at times. Jay Shetty recommends trying box breathing when you feel stress starting to get the best of you. Box breathing, or square breathing, is a deep breathing technique that can help you slow down your breathing. It works by distracting your mind as you count to four, calming your nervous system, and decreasing stress in your body.“You use the diaphragmatic breathing technique but add a count of four,” explains Jay Shetty. “As you breathe in for four, imagine a line going up. You hold for four as you imagine a line going across. You breathe out for four and imagine a line going down, then you wait for four as you imagine a line going across. You can actually visualize the square as you do this.”Make sure you’re comfortable during these exercises. If four seconds is too long, start with whatever count is comfortable for you and increase your time as you progress.
Kapalabhati Pranayama, also known as fire breath, is a breathing technique used to energize. It helps flush out atmospheric toxins from your body, detoxifying body systems and increasing metabolism.To practice this breathing technique, Jay Shetty recommends slowly inhaling deeply through your nose to fill your lungs with air. The exhale should be a short burst of air, almost like a hiss, followed by an automatic inhale. You continue this pattern for ten to twenty rounds. This may take some practice to feel a little more natural for you. When your energy is lacking and you need a little pick me up, Kapalabhati Pranayama is a great technique you can use to generate the energy you need to power through.Too often, we turn to things that don't benefit us to cope. We take sleeping pills when we can't sleep or turn to caffeine when we’re tired. Imagine if you swapped those unhealthy habits for simple breathing techniques that could drastically benefit your life. Jay Shetty uses each of these techniques during his day. “I do these before I send emails or when I get a stressful email,” Jay Shetty explains. “I do this if I'm about to have a difficult phone call. I practice these breathing patterns when I'm sitting in bed struggling to sleep. These breathing patterns have become my go-to.” These four breathing techniques are a powerful way to take control of your day. When you transform your breath, you can change your life. Take a little time each day to practice these techniques. The next time a situation arises where you need to use one of them, you will be prepared to take control of the situation.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “4 Daily Habits to Reduce Stress, Improve Energy and Sleep Deeper” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me
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