Focus Your Mind with Controlled Breathing

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Oxygen is the power of life itself.

You wanna know how I know that good breathing is one of the most important aspects of the human body? I can think of at least five comic book heroes who use breathing techniques as the basis of their abilities. You know the ones I’m talking about. While controlled breathing probably won’t give you the power to punch vampires, it can be an invaluable skill to posses.

Let’s first clarify the differences between regular breathing and controlled breathing. Regular breathing is, well, what you’re doing right now. Just breathing for the sake of breathing. Controlled breathing is to utilize that process as a means of assuming more direct control over your mind and body. Breathing techniques are a cornerstone of centuries-old practices utilized by professional yogis and Buddhist monks, all to enhance their minds and bodies. Controlled breathing is often referred to as “meditation for people who can’t meditate,” because everyone can do it!

If you want to get your start with controlled breathing, try a simple belly breathing technique. Lay yourself down comfortably and rest one hand on your belly, with the other on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing your belly to push your hand out while keeping your chest still. Breathe out through your mouth, keeping your lips pursed like you’re whistling, and use your belly-hand to gently push the air out. Try this three to ten times, and ask yourself how you feel afterward. Chances are, you’ll feel pretty relaxed.

Deep, full breaths are a signal to your brain that you’re safe, and that it’s okay to calm down. If you ever feel yourself panicking, try a breathing exercise to get your metaphorical feet back on the ground.