When was the last time you took a deep breath? If you’re like many of us, it’s been a minute. Stressful times (like when you are quarantined at home with your kids) make most of us resort to shallow breathing – or even holding our breath.
This can lead to low-grade chronic stress, says Sandy Abrams, who specializes in sharing calming, empowering breathing tips in the corporate world and is the author of “Breathe to Succeed.” Abrams, mom of sons who are now 22 and 24, uses these techniques in her parenting as well. “I started to use the power of breath in parenting for all sorts of different applications, like patience and being present.” Here are three of her favorites:
Beverage and Breath: Most of us like to enjoy a cup of something (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) to start the day, even when the morning is chaotic. Create a morning ritual by setting an intention for the day, holding your cup, closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths. “Find in that small moment a sort of meditation to empower yourself for the day,” she suggests.
Lion’s Breath: This is one of Abrams’ favorite breathing methods to use with kids. It immediately purges negative energy – and makes everyone laugh. Just close your eyes, take in a deep breath through your nose, then snap your eyes and mouth open wide as you stick out your tongue and breathe out with a roaring sound. Afterward, enjoy the giggles. “Laughter is a great thing to do with your children,” Abrams says. “Laughter is breath, too.”
Bumblebee Breath: To close all the “open tabs” you have running in your brain and tap into creativity, try this technique. Close your eyes and take a long, deep inhale. Close your ears with your thumbs and use your fingers to gently cover your eyes. For the whole length of an exhale, make a humming/buzzing sound like a bee. “After one or two rounds of that, you just breathe normally for a few rounds and then you open your eyes, and you’ve got that blank slate you need for creativity,” says Abrams.
Taking three deep breaths any time (especially with your eyes closed) is a great way to regroup when life throws you a curve. Make your exhales longer than your inhales for a deeper sense of relaxation.
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