The importance of slowing down and breathing

Breathing is such a fundamental part of life. But as we try and maintain our functioning in our daily life, in the myriad of problems and issues that come into our lives, often it is our breathing that is the first thing to go awry. Unconciously we hold tension in our neck, shoulders, jaws, spine and other parts of the body and at the same time, we often hold our breath or our breath becomes more shallow and this in turn, effects the flow of oxygen around our body and our capacity to maintain our thinking and physical and emotional well being.

In my work in inpatient adult mental health, as well as in my private practice work, mindfulness and the importance of breathing comes up again and again. Regardless of the mental health problem, the acuteness of the problem or the stage in which treatment is being sought, learning how to be mindful of our breathing can make such a fundamental difference to our body and well being.

Mindfulness in its simplest form means to develop the self awareness of the present moment, to accept what is occuring in this moment, without judgement. In the same sense, mindfulness of breathing (in its simplest form) means to re-direct our attention to our breathing, in the present moment and to try and slow down the ‘chatter’ that goes on in our mind, so that we can relax, become reconnected to our body and start to regain some sense of control over our breathing and therefore our wellbeing.

I encourage you to give it a go and explore this simple exercise as you start the New Year, regaining connectedness to yourself and starting the journey toward positive emotional and physical wellbeing in 2016.

Good luck,

Sarah Joy

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