Simple Ways to Reduce Stress, Feel More Alive, Centered and Connected to Life
~ Breath of Life
Just by taking a few deep breaths you can begin to feel more energized and alive. Not only are you bringing in more oxygen to your brain and all the cells of the body, but because our breathing pattern is connected to our thinking patterns, as you change your breathing you change your thoughts.
Try it right now. Stop and take a few deep, slow breaths into the abdomen. Notice how you feel.
To extend this practice: Lie on your back on a hard surface with feet flat on the floor and knees up. Relax the body completely, letting go of any tension. Place your hands on your lower abdomen to focus the breath low in the lungs. Exhale completely. Begin to slowly inhale. Direct the breath low in the lungs as you feel the abdomen rising. Take several easy breaths like this, making sure you are totally relaxed. Extending the exhale to make it longer than the inhale makes the practice more effective, but make sure never to strain. Keep the breath completely relaxed and open.
The effects are cumulative, so do this practice daily, 5 minutes morning and evening, to retrain the nervous system and stimulate the relaxation response.
Note: Always make sure to remain relaxed during this practice and never hyperventilate.
~ The Power of Gratitude
Cultivating gratitude as a habit in our daily lives shifts our focus from negative to positive and over time, changes the neural pathways in the brain. Center and ground yourself by relaxing and consciously taking a few deep breaths. Think of something you are grateful for. It could be something big or small. If you can't think of anything, focus on gratitude for your next breath. Allow the sense of gratitude to fill your entire being. Bask in this feeling for at least 20 to 30 seconds. Studies have shown that doing this practice several times a day for a period of weeks has positive, lasting effect.