The Stress Management Society

Practice Deep Breathing this Holiday Season

Deep breathing is something which many of us tend to overlook, or not really even give much thought to, however it brings many benefits. Deep breathing encourages oxygen to enter our lungs, which means that more oxygen will be delivered to our heart. This heightens both our cardiovascular capacity as well as the amount of oxygen that is able to be delivered to our cells.  Deep breathing allows our cells to continue in an aerobic state. This aerobic state encourages the burning of fat rather than energy stores of glycogen. Plus it also helps us to detox, relax as well as provide us with mental clarity.

If you would like to practice deep breathing but find it difficult to carry out,  try the following tips:

Tip 1: Why not try to blow up a balloon? Oxygen is vital for our bodies in order to relax, however when we are stressed we are likely to take short, shallow breaths. Blowing up a balloon forces your body to breathe slower and more deeply due to using your diaphragm. Your parasympathetic nervous system is also activated which leads to your heart rate decreasing and your muscles becoming relaxed.

Tip 2: Try to routinely start taking a deep breath every time you carry out a task. For example, every time you take a sip of water, take a deep breath before.

Tip 3: Lastly, Christmas is soon approaching, which means many of us will be tempted by the never ending sweets and chocolates on offer. Did you know that you can mindfully eat chocolate? Chocolate meditation helps you to reconnect with your senses, which is a vital part of mindfulness meditation, so anything that helps this process is worth it.

How to mindfully eat chocolate:

-Choosing the chocolate – ensure that you have chosen a type of chocolate that you have either never tried before or that you rarely eat, or have not eaten recently

-Open the chocolate, smell the chocolate.  Really inhale the aroma.

-Take a piece, look at it. Stare at it. Examine it. Analyse it.

-Pop a piece in your mouth. Try to hold it on your tongue for as long as possible, allowing it to melt. Did you know that chocolate has over 300 different flavours? Identify what you can taste.

-Slowly swallow the chocolate and repeat.

Once finished, notice how you feel, note if it is different to normal, does it tastes better?

 

 

References:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindfulness-in-frantic-world/201109/the-chocolate-meditation

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/10/29/forget-yoga-try-one-of-these-quirky-ways-to-de-stress

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5018/5-Reasons-Why-We-Should-Practice-Deep-Breathing.html