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‘Breathe’ to Restore Mind/Body Balance

Breathing is the connection between mind and body. By practicing the five-minute breathing relaxation session below at least once a day, you will feel more relaxed, have renewed energy and the ability to navigate stressful situations a lot better.

1. Sit comfortably with your back straight, or lie down with your hands resting at your sides. Close your eyes and allow your body to become still and calm.

2. Focus on your breathing and take several slow, deep breaths. Let your breath find its natural rhythm. Don’t try to control it -- just observe it.

3. Bring your attention to the feeling of your breath as it comes into your nose, down your throat, into your belly and back out again. Feel your belly rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. Feel the cool air entering your body and the warm air flowing out. With each exhalation, let your body settle a bit more.

4. You may find that your attention drifts away from your breathing, and you think of other things. Watch these thoughts float by like bubbles. Then, gently bring your attention back to the breathing.

5. Continue to pay attention to your breath. If your attention drifts to an emotion, observe and accept it. See yourself riding it like a surfer rides the waves. Feel that you can have emotions without having to react to them.

6. Notice all your thoughts and emotions as they pass through your mind. Try not to judge them -- they are all ok. Imagine each of your inhalations bringing in peace and harmony. Imagine tension and anxiety flowing out with each exhalation.

7. As you finish, congratulate yourself for bringing your mind and body to the present moment and for restoring personal balance.

The more connected you are to your thoughts, feelings and emotions, the better you are able to address them. Doing so helps you stay connected to the needs of your body and the choices you make for a healthy life.