Creating the Relaxing Breath
Breathing is natural and automatic so therefore we do not have to consciously take in a breath.
We can turn a deep chest rising breath into a gentle relaxing abdominal breath.
Simply follow these directions:
Gently push your stomach out. One way to do this is to place your hand on your abdomen and gently push your hand out using the abdomen. As you do, you will notice that you automatically breathe in. This happens because as you push your abdomen out you pull down the diaphragm which creates a vacuum sucking in air.
You will experience the following steps:
1. The diaphragm drops down and the two lower lobes begin to open up filling with air containing oxygen.
2. The diaphragm stimulates the vagus nerve which travels through the diaphragm. The vagus nerve then activates anti-stress hormones which create relaxation and comfort.
3. Now gently take that abdominal breath again, but this time hold your breath for about three slow counts. By holding your breath you create a more efficient gasexchange between the carbon dioxide, a stimulant, and oxygen a relaxant. The breath out is twice as long as the breath in.
The count: Breathe in for a count of three to five, hold for a count of three to five and out for a count of six to ten. A normal exhalation is twice as long as inhalation.
Why hold the breath? Holding the breath allows for a more efficient gas exchange between carbon dioxide and oxygen, a key factor in decreasing anxiety attacks.
Using this type of breathing may result in the following changes:
Trouble sleeping? Three breaths at bed time and you can fall asleep easily as you say to yourself “I am asleep” repeatedly.
Tension headache? Take the prescribed breath and imagine the oxygen flowing into your head. Breathing in relaxation and breathing out tension.
Improve your immune system? Research has shown that relaxing breaths decrease Cortisol (stress hormone) and activate the immune system.
The first step in controlling both your insomnia and your sleep deprivation is to manage your stress and to develop good sleep preparation hygiene.
How many times have you tossed and turned thinking I can’t get to sleep; then worrying about not waking up if you do go to sleep? You then top that off by thinking you can’t function if you don’t get some sleep. You say over and over “I can’t sleep”. You create your own self-fulfilling prophesy. When you talk or think your brain listens ,so be careful of what you say to yourself.
Here are some techniques I teach my clients who are having difficulties with sleep and all have said they are sleeping better.
Go to bed at approximately the same time every night in a cool, dark room.
Eat nutritious foods high in calcium and B-vitamins.
Take three abdominal breaths by pushing your stomach out for a count of three to five holding it for a count of three to five and then releasing it at the count of six to ten.
Say to yourself twenty times, “I am asleep”.
Make sure you keep it in the present tense not “I am going to sleep now.”
If you wake up during the night and stay awake for more than twenty minutes, get out of bed and read or watch TV and then return to bed. Do the three breaths and say the statement twenty times again.