Conscious breathing can help you to regulate your nervous system when you’re experiencing stress or heightened emotions. Intentionally controlling the pattern of your breath can immediately calm your nervous system to a state of feeling safer. Most breathing practices can be done in a subtle and gentle way so that it doesn’t trigger the fight or flight mode AND so that others won’t even notice when you’re doing them.
One simple practice is to simply focus on the coolness and warmth of your breath as it enters and exits your nostrils. Breathe gently, allowing your stomach to rise and fall as you lengthen your inhale and exhale. Exhaling slowly notifies your autonomic nervous system that everything is ok, even if your mind is saying otherwise.
Use this during stressful work days, in heated exchanges with partners and when you’re feeling agitated or reactive.
Better yet, teach this self-regulation tool to children to support their emotional development and see how that creates a ripple effect in the world!
Self-Reflection: What do you notice happens when you practice conscious breathing? Do you feel more relaxed, centered, and balanced? If so, consider making conscious breathing a part of your self-care routine, or a new addition to your self-care toolbelt.