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Ruby Liu MY
One-stop online mental health self-help platform.
When stress or emotion arises, our body may be unconsciously tensed. Through breathing exercise, we can activate our parasympathetic nervous system by taking deep, slow breaths, calming the heartbeats, lowering blood pressure, increasing bowel movements, stabilizing the sympathetic nervous system that is stimulated by emotions and restoring balance; focusing our mind on each breath, letting go of the ruminations and emotional baggage, concentrating on our present state of mind and body.
During the practice of mindful breathing exercise, everyone may have different physical responses and feelings. You may feel relieved, you may feel uneasy, acknowledge all feelings as each practice is a different experience. Our physical responses and feelings are the signals from our body, we can choose to pause the practice according to our own conditions.
Mindful breathing exercise (about 3 minutes)
Now we will do a mindful breathing exercise. You may begin once you are ready.
Find a comfortable position and sit upright, with feet on the ground. You may close your eyes or lower your gaze. Sense the contact between your feet and the ground, and that between your hip and the chair.
Now slowly bring your attention to the breath. It might be in the nostrils or in the abdomen. Feel the sensation of your breath, inhale and exhale. Feel the natural flow of your breath – fast or slow, deep or shallow. You don’t need to control it. If you notice that your mind wanders, you don't have to judge yourself. Just notice what happens in your mind and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
Observe your breath with curiosity, notice the depth and pace of each breath. Is it the same or different from one another? Exhale, feel the air passing from your lungs through your nostrils and leave your body. Inhale, feel the air passing through your nostrils and into the lungs. Feel the temperature and humidity of the air you breathe. Sense the body movement when you breathe – expand and contract, rise and fall. Breathe naturally and you don’t need to control your breath.
This is the end of this mindful breathing exercise. You may open your eyes slowly and wiggle your fingers and toes when you hear the bell rings.
By doing breathing exercises regularly, we can develop the habit of being aware of our physical and mental states, relieving the physical discomfort that comes with our emotions, and using a clearer mind to cope with things. If you are interested in learning more about how to identify your bodily signals, you are welcome to register for a free TourHeart+ membership and start a conversation with our virtual companion, Boon in the chatbot topics ‘‘The Wondrous Relationship between Body and Mind’’ and ‘‘Emotion Regulation with ‘ABC PLEASE’ ’’.
Every breath is a blessing. May we live in the moment through in-breaths and out-breaths, delicately with peace in the mind.
Ruby Liu MY
Well-being Promotion Officer of Jockey Club TourHeart+ Project
One-stop online mental health self-help platform
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