Breathing Resolutions for the New Year (and Every Day After That!)
We know at R.E.S.S.E.T that with each new year comes a series of new year’s resolutions. While these are intended to make your year more prosperous, these new year’s resolutions usually end up adding more stress. Our goal for this year is to encourage you to focus on improving your health and wellbeing while also reducing stress with one hack that is so simple, you will be surprised how much of an impact it will make.
This hack is your breath. Most of us forget about our breath throughout our day. We have found through research that just becoming aware of your breath can decrease stress and anxiety as well as improve your overall wellbeing. That is why people often say “just breath” or “take a breath” when you are stressed, upset or overwhelmed. Research has shown that we take 20,000 breaths a day. People that deal with anxiety tend to take more breaths and by taking more breaths increase a series of stress factors in their bodies such as cortisol, adrenaline and epinephrine. These “bad” hormones can start a cascade of problems that can have negative, long-term health impacts especially if they are ongoing. But if you are aware of your breath and can control your breath the opposite is true. In this case, your body will release a series of “good” hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, melatonin and more.
When you become conscious of your breath, you activate your parasympathetic system, which works to calm your body down. Therefore, you can use your breath as a way throughout your day to ground you and help you feel more at ease.
Look at your breath like your R.E.S.S.E.T button for this year. When you panic, get anxious or upset, which would instantly increase the release of “bad” hormones, it’s time to hit the button! Below we have outlined several breathing techniques for you to practice. Test these techniques out when you have a quiet moment for yourself, see which one works best to make you feel calm, and the next time you feel stressed, try using this technique.
- Find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes and simply become aware of your breath for the next minute. Feel the air go in through your nose, fill up your diaphragm and slowing feel it release as you exhale. The key here is not to time your breath but just to become aware of it.
- 4-4-4 Technique: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds and repeat. See how it makes you feel.
- 4-7-8 Technique: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this process for one to five minutes and see how it makes you feel. This is a technique we use in our R.E.S.S.E.T Cards.
- Try to create your own breathing rhythm that makes you feel more relaxed. Keep in mind that you can create a tempo around the following: inhalation for X seconds, pause for X seconds, exhalation for X seconds and pause for X seconds.
We hope that these techniques help you to use your breath to overcome stressful moments and have a happy and prosperous year! If you would like to learn about additional techniques you can use in addition to your breath, check out our R.E.S.S.E.T Cards. Each deck comes with 54 individualized techniques to help you manage stress anytime and anywhere.