Guest contribution from Wendy Quan
Did you know that breathing rhythmically changes your physiology in just a few minutes? You can calm yourself down by breathing a certain way and invoking what’s called the relaxation response.
Each of us is unique in how we feel stress in our body. We might feel muscle tightness in our abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms, or we might experience sweaty palms, shallow breathing, an upset stomach or a long list of other symptoms. The great news is that we can calm and relax ourselves if we learn to breathe smartly – and it only takes a few minutes.
Meditation is a great way to calm the body and mind, but let’s face it, we don’t always have time to sit and meditate. So why not learn this simple technique that you can literally do almost any time of the day – whether you’re sitting at your computer, riding transit or waiting for a meeting to start.
You simply inhale and exhale deeper than your natural breath but in a rhythmic way so that the inhalation and exhalation are equal in length. Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, a research psychiatrist at UCLA, has a great technique to help you get into a rhythm and stay focused.
Here’s what you do:
Take deep, slow, rhythmic breaths.
Count silently to yourself:
- On the inhalation, count “1, 2, 3, 1”
- On the exhalation, count “1, 2, 3, 2”
- On the inhalation, count “1, 2, 3, 3”
- On the exhalation, count “1, 2, 3, 4”
Then start the counting over.
Keep this up for two to five minutes.
If you lose track of your counting (and you likely will!), simply restart from the beginning.
This is a wonderful way to get and stay very present. The rhythmic breaths invoke your body’s relaxation response, and you will likely feel the relaxing effect of this within a minute or two.
Watch a video of Dr. Schwartz to learn more about this practice.
Interested in learning more about meditation? Register now for Wendy’s Learn to Meditate series!
2017 Program Schedule: July 12, 19 & 26 from 12-1pm
Wendy will provide an introduction and basic concepts of meditation and mindfulness techniques. This three-session course, tuned for the working environment, is designed for those both new and experienced in the world of mindfulness meditation.
For $35, you can learn to cultivate personal resilience, learn techniques to reduce and manage stress, and gain confidence to practice meditation and mindfulness. Read more and register now.
Wendy Quan, founder of The Calm Monkey, is the industry leader helping organizations implement self-sustaining mindfulness meditation programs to create change resiliency. She offers the first and only online and in-person training and certification of its kind, turning passionate meditators into Mindfulness Meditation Facilitators in the workplace and community.
Wendy is a certified organizational change manager who has been recognized as a pioneer by the University of California, Berkeley and the global Association of Change Management Professionals. Her client list includes individuals around the world and organizations such as Google and the government of Dubai. Her life’s purpose is to help people create a better experience of life.