Take a Deep Breath

The practice of quieting your mind and focusing on your breath is not just for the enlightened. Here’s one of my favorite deep breathing exercises. It can be done at any time and any place. Try it lying down or sitting in a comfortable chair while maintaining good posture.

  • Close your eyes and relax your body as much as possible. Scan your body from head to toe and let go of any tension.
  • Pay attention to your breathing. With one hand on your heart and another on your belly, notice the rise and fall of each breath. If you are using the lower part of your lungs, your abdomen should be noticeably rising and falling. Your chest should not be rising nearly as much.
  • Continue breathing deeply through your nose.
  • After several more breaths, inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Keep your mouth, tongue, jaw relaxed.
  • Continue this pattern of methodical breathing as you stay relaxed, and focus on the sound and feeling of long, slow, deep breaths.

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Meditation is not for everyone, but it’s also not just for monks anymore. With time and patience, anyone can learn to meditate. It’s like entering a deeply restful sleep while being fully awake; its casting the human brain back to a more primitive state where we are freed of our analytical and critical selves. In this blissful state of mind, you are more aware of senses and feelings rather than negativity and stress. Here’s a simple way to try it:

  • Sit in a quiet comfortable spot. Be mindful of your posture. Set a timer for five or ten minutes.
  • Choose a word to repeat to yourself. Many people like to use the word “om” because it has been shown to be calming. Or you can murmur “breathe in” and “breathe out” to yourself, or count your breaths from one to ten, then repeat.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your work or count. When thoughts intrude, gently bring your attention back to the words or count.
  • Keep going as long as you can without falling asleep.
  • When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes. How do you feel?

 

Doctor Murad Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

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