Emotions and breathing are closely linked.
There was a study by Phillipott that showed that different emotions produce different breathing patterns. When someone felt anxious or afraid, their breathing was quick and shallow. But when they felt happy, their breathing was slow and deeper. This showed that breathing was effected by emotion.
His study also showed that the reverse happened – breathing effects emotions. As well as emotions, brain activity is also effected by breathing.
Amazing that something we do every day (and don’t even think about) affects so much within us.
Breathing is simple, free and easy. Yet incredibly powerful.
If you are feeling anxious or stressed, try this breathing technique:
- Relax your shoulders and open your hands to make sure that they aren’t clenched.
- Breathe in through your nose and feel the temperature of the air. Think about how it feels. Is it cold, warm, scented etc?
- Send the breath down to your stomach and feel it expand. (Your chest shouldn’t rise very much.) Try and count to four as you breathe in.
- As you breathe out, open your mouth slightly and focus on relaxing your lips and jaw. Let your shoulders drop down into your body.
- Try to count to six as you breathe out, keeping the breath steady and smooth.
- With each breath out, drop your shoulders a little further and allow your feet to feel more rooted to the floor.
- Keep repeating this breath until you feel calm and in control.
This deep breathing technique also helps you to relax and feel sleepy, so if you are struggling to switch off, let the breath calm you.
You can also use it in stressful situations, like exams, or when you start feeling panic rising. Take control of your breath and your mind will follow.