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Mind going a million miles a minute? Slow down with this breathing exercise

The Brain During Periods Of Worry

The Brain During Periods Of Worry

During periods of panic, anxiety or confusion, one of the best strategies is to slow down and focus on your breath. Yes this is not new, and many people know about this, and still are not able to implement.

Our brains’ dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the thinking and planning department, is our short-term working memory, just like the RAM in our computers. If we occupy the RAM space of our brain with too much worry, the working memory can crash.

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Mind going a million miles a minute? Slow down with this breathing exercise

Mind going a million miles a minute? Slow down with this breathing exercise

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Key Ideas

The Brain During Periods Of Worry

During periods of panic, anxiety or confusion, one of the best strategies is to slow down and focus on your breath. Yes this is not new, and many people know about this, and still are not able to implement.

Our brains’ dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the thinking and planning department, is our short-term working memory, just like the RAM in our computers. If we occupy the RAM space of our brain with too much worry, the working memory can crash.

Breathing Exercises

Mindfulness can get our thinking brain back to being usable and free, as it acts as a junk cleaner of our mind. As meditation can be challenging for many, one can use a simple breathing exercise to ‘reboot’ the RAM in our brains. This is known as the Five Finger Breathing.

Five Finger Breathing makes the use of many of your senses, including eyesight and touch along with an awareness of the multiple locations in your body, like your hands, nose and lungs. This helps you get back to reality and insulates you from the ongoing worry.

The Five Finger Breathing

  • Keep your index finger of one hand on your other hand’s little finger (the outside of the hand). Breathe in, tracing the little finger up to the tip, and breathe out tracing it down to the inside.
  • On the next inhale, trace your ring finger on the same way, going to the tip and then going inside on the exhale.
  • Do this for all fingers and then reverse the process from the thumb back again to your little finger.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”

How it’s done:  Inhale for a count of 4, then exhale for a count of 4, all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath. Once you manage it, you can go up to a c...

Abdominal Breathing Technique
How it’s done: With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: 6 to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure.

When it works best: Before an exam, or any stressful event.

Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril Breathing”

How it’s done: Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb and exhaling through the left nostril.

When it works best: Crunch time, or whenever it’s time to focus or energize.

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What mindfulness is
What mindfulness is

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

What meditation is

Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

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Self-compassion

Self-compassion is treating yourself with the same kindness and consideration that you would offer to someone else.

Self-compassion helps you cope with tough situations and helps you t...

Why parents need self-compassion

Parents' frame of mind impacts their children. Parents should not blame themselves when their children struggle.

Since parents lead by example, treating themselves with compassion and without judgment can help their children to do the same.

Make time for mindfulness

Many parents stop meditating once they have children. But new research suggests that even brief interventions can be helpful.

  • Take two breaths of kindness wherever you are.
  • Find moments of newness while engaged in your daily tasks of living.
  • Bring awareness and gratitude to the everyday things you take for granted.
Breathing: The First Act Of Life
Breathing: The First Act Of Life

Breathing is the first basic act of life and we take about 670 million breaths in a lifetime.

Breathing is so natural to us that very few scientists have studied it in deta...

How To Breathe Right

A perfect ‘slow’ breath that creates profound effects in our body and mind is this: 5.5 seconds inhaling, followed by 5.5 seconds of exhaling. This can be practiced for a few minutes, or even an hour.

The heart, lungs and other organs benefit greatly, and the imbalances are restored to an extent.

Mindfulness

 ... is a conscious state of calm that evokes an awareness of the present moment.

When you are mindful, you are able to objectively gauge your own thoughts and feelings at a glanc...

Mindfulness alternatives to meditation
  1. Cleaning
  2. Walking
  3. Listening to Music
  4. Dance
  5. Yoga
  6. Tai Chi
  7. Coloring
  8. Conscious Breathing
Breathing exercises

Breathing is at the core of ancient (and currently trendy) mindfulness practices, from yoga and tai chi to meditation.

However, studies suggest that breathing exercises alone, derived from...

Deep, controlled breathing

It involves filling the lungs to the max and goes by various names like belly or diaphragmatic breathing.

It has been linked to improved cognitive performance, lower stress levels, and lower blood pressure.

Breathing and yoga
Belief in the benefits of controlled breathing goes back centuries.

Central to ancient Hindu philosophy was prana, described as vital “airs” or “energies” flowing through the body. Stemming from that belief, yoga was built on pranayama or breath retention. 

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Stress can come in many forms
Stress can come in many forms

It often arise from something beyond our control, whether a breakup or loss of someone dear. We can even feel anxiety when trying something new.

We tend to desire a quick-f...

Awareness minimizes stress

Anxiety tends to build over time. Through awareness, we can help minimize its effects.

Our anxiety is trying to help us. Our body is trying to tell us it has new needs. Start noticing what makes you anxious and what takes you out, as well as when it happens.

Meditate to calm your nervous system

Meditation as a practice is useful to tune into awareness and to calm your nervous system.

To start, take a minute or two to pay attention to where your mind wanders. When you're able to begin noticing problematic situations through the practice of awareness, you can stop doing them.

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4-7-8 Breathing
Created by Dr. Andrew Weil this is breathing exercise to help you relax: 
  1. First, let your lips part. Exhaling completely through your mouth.
  2. Next, close your lips, inhaling sil...