deep breath
August 20, 2020 Berni Kozlowski, Blog

When Taking a Deep Breath Isn’t Enough. Try Another Approach Instead.

by Berni Kozlowski

Aug 20, 2020

Has anyone ever told you to take a deep breath and you wonder

  • Am I doing it right? 
  • Am I breathing deep enough? 
  • Does this really work?

In today’s pandemic world, everyone is offering stress reduction advice which includes watch less news, eat well, and get regular exercise. And of course, take a deep breath.  

If that works for you, great.  If not, take a different approach.  What if, instead of focusing on the inhale, we explored the exhale??  

deep breath

 Use a Longer Exhale than an Inhale 

Try something that athletes and singers and soldiers already know: Breath slower and exhale longer.  Athletes do this before taking a foul shot or fielding a ground ball.

Singers use vocal warm-ups around breathing. Military personnel use longer exhales to stay calm in life-threatening situations. 

Our bodies breathe differently in different situations.  Under stress our breathing is shallow and faster. Under relaxation our breathing is deeper and slower. We naturally switch back and forth as conditions warrant.  

Your perception of your environment and your emotional state change your breathing. What if you changed your breathing to shift your perception of the world and your emotional state?

Consciously slow your breathing and trick your body into thinking all is well, helping you to break a pattern that might be stuck in shallow breathing high in the chest.

You sense that all is well, you breathe more easily.  So why not reverse engineer it and breathe more easily to tell your body that all is well? 

Try This.

Set a timer for 1-3 minutes. Simply exhale a little longer than you inhale. Get curious about all the tiny sensations in your belly, your chest, your nose. Do this exercise at least once a day and tune into how you feel afterwards. Be patient as you build muscle memory.

The Benefits

When you practice the skill of making your breath slower with a longer exhale, you are more able to return to relaxation in crucial situations.  You’ll also start to find yourself in fewer situations that get you riled up. When you do face challenges, you will rebound more quickly. This can only improve your relationships with yourself, your loved ones, and even your work.

People who attend my breathing workshops report they don’t get worked up about things outside of their control near as much. And when they do have an upsetting situation they can rebound MUCH faster.

Personally, my golf game is much better! I used to inhale on the back swing and hold my breath, causing me to tense at impact.  Now I exhale as I make contact which keeps my muscles relaxed, flexible, and faster, helping me get more yardage with more accuracy.

Feel It! 

Inhale and tense your whole body for a few seconds. Let go. Then exhale and try to tense your body again. Is it easier to tense, harder to tense, or about the same? Most people find it harder to be physically or emotionally tense on the exhale.

Want to learn more relaxation hacks?     Join me for an upcoming webinar!   

Consciously deciding to shift your breathing will shift your physical and emotional state and your perception of the world.

  • Try slower breathing with longer exhales and feel the difference. 
  • You will have a more positive outlook on life, healthier relationships, and better overall well-being. 

You can do this! Please share this blog post with someone who might need it and please comment below.