Breathing is essential. We do it all day long. But, believe it or not, most of us don’t do it correctly. Proper breathing ensures that your brain, muscles, and organs are supplied with adequate amounts of oxygen. The right deep breathing exercises can optimize both physical and cognitive abilities, thus making a big difference in your physical performance, your stress levels, and your concentration. Here are the best deep breathing exercises for better work performance, better engagement, less stress, and more creativity.
Deep and shallow breathing
Sit in your chair or lie down on a mat (tricky if you’re at work!). Put one hand on your chest, and take a deep breath as you make that hand rise and fall. Then move that hand to your stomach and do it again. Try to keep your stomach rising and falling while your chest remains still. Do it for 6 to 8 breaths and then breathe in through your chest and belly at the same time. Fill the space from your diaphragm all the way up through your chest with air, which loosens the muscles and tissues around your lungs, easing your breathing.
Breathe out stress
To slow down your heart rate and reduce stress during anxiety-inducing situations, inhale deeply and slowly. Then place your top front teeth on your bottom lip and exhale slowly through your teeth. Take twice as much time to exhale as you took to inhale, then pause and repeat. By exhaling through your teeth, you can slow down your breath even more, settle your mind, slow your heart rate, and calm your entire being. Note: this also works well when negotiating with a toddler or erroneous spouse.
Lie down on the floor and close your eyes. If you can’t lie down, simply sit in a chair, preferably with a back so you can lean back and relax. Each time you exhale, concentrate on a specific part of your body. Start at the bottom—your toes and feet—and work your way up to the top—your head. You’ll eventually feel the part of your body that’s feeling tense so you can relax it. By identifying it, you can also focus on that area the next time you exercise, do yoga, stretch, or get a massage. If left untreated, that constant tension might lead to migraines, back pain, and other chronic pain.
This counting breathing exercise will help you breathe more deeply, fill your lungs with air, and guide your body into a state of physical calm. And the repetitive counting is a good way to distract your brain from pain or stress. It’s a good technique to help you refocus. First, breathe in through your nose for four seconds, feeling your belly expand. Then, hold your breath for seven seconds, and finally, blow the air out slowly for eight seconds.
In addition to these deep breathing exercises for better work performance, drink water, stretch limbs and torso periodically, and take a brain break here and there. For more tips on optimizing your work performance, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.