Living is breathing. Breathing is living.

Do you know how we know this? Aside from obviously noticing all moving mammals doing ins and outs - hence, life (da-da dum!) … We also noticed how, when caught shell-shocked (say, at work), we forget to breathe. Life stops, you freeze, and colleagues go slow-mo. The stress befalls, and our breath goes down the toilet almost instantly.

The design is obvious - the breath and life (state of mind) are in a two-sided relationship. One alters the other and vice versa - no life no breath. This is why we’re turning the tables by bringing the power of breath straight to your bag of nerves. Here’s a way to help you de-stress, or even better, stay as sharp as a tack at work.

Breathe to reduce stress

Ever noticed your spouse, child, or even a dog sound asleep, taking consecutive double inhales? It’s sort of like they are trying to suck oxygen leftovers they missed the first time around.

Well, they sort of are. It’s called psychological sigh. Carbon dioxide has built up to a point where the lungs are making up for it. Plus, it’s allowing them to settle into deep rest by soothing their bodies even more.

Happy news - double inhale works wonders and you can use it from the convenience of your desk to release tension.

The body of work carried out by Dr. Jack Feldman proves that psychological sigh helps to swiftly ease stress. The following practice is soothing, even with just a single try.

  1. Double breath: Breathe in and then max out your lungs with one extra inhale
  2. Breathe out slowly for 7-12 seconds
  3. Repeat 5-10 times
  4. Take a pause if you get lightheaded

Breathe to stay attentive

A man in lotus position breathing to a relaxing tune

Breath is not just a remedy to keep you level-headed. It’s a trick to keep you sharp-witted for long stretches.

The key is using your stomach. Diaphragmatic breathing may bring deeper physical and mental benefits. In a study carried out by Frontiers in Psychology, researchers found that people who used their stomachs to breathe scored better in sustained attention, along with other improvements. Yes, feel free to assume it will help you cross off tasks more effectively and bring some powerful work to life.

It’s a lot easier than it sounds. Diaphragmatic breathing is really just you focusing on breathing using your abdominal muscles instead of your chest. Here’s how:

  1. Recline in your chair a little and take a comfy seat
  2. Place your left hand on your belly and right hand on chest
  3. Breathe in only by noticing raise in your left hand (belly)
  4. Breathe out with your left hand while keeping right hand fairly static
  5. Do a 5-second inhale, hold for 2 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds
  6. Do a series of 10 a few times a day

Breathe to prevent burnout

A breathing routine, meditation, or any mindfulness practice where breath is involved - helps to keep your mental clarity in check. Best of all, you don’t have to go all Dalai Lama deep - your 3-minute breather from work is more than enough to incorporate the practice.

If you remember to do it day in and day out, it will foster a chain of wonderful effects. And all of those benefits hold strong to keep burnout - a nasty, sneaky beast that almost robs you of sanity - at bay.

Don’t forget to respire at work (or anywhere)!

A senior woman taking deep breaths in nature, enjoying life

It’s important to stay conscious of our breath.

Doing our due diligence we get sucked into our to-do lists. We tend to forget who we are, what day it is, and whether we’re still, well, breathing - or should we say living?

Breathing snatches us back from our machine mode back to our human essence. It allows us to realize that work is just work and we’re a breathing organism with bodily and mental needs.

So, again, remember to breathe, human! Actually, join us - again.

Take a deep breath in. Hold. Let it out slowly. Again, deep double inhale. And hold. Think about your breath. And let it out. Again, in and out a few more times. Close your eyes and relax.

Still not there yet - at jubilant spirit levels? Well, some added physical activity should help you reach those levels. Dash ahead!

Defeat afternoon slump with this 2-minute exercise break
Exercise at your desk can help you fight off afternoon sleepiness. Here’s a 2-minute fun routine to do right at your desk.
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