Photo cred: Victor Garcia
We all breathe. We don’t have to think about it. It is a natural function and is necessary for us to survive.
Without changing your breath, notice how you are breathing. Are you breathing fast, short breaths or are you breathing at a slow and relaxed rate? Depending on our nervous state, this can affect our breathing rhythm at rest.
Have you ever noticed your heart rate increase and your breath shortening if you have a job interview or are about to speak at a conference or in the Board Room?
This shortness of breath can impact on your ability to think clearly.
If you can train your body to breath effectively then this can help you make better decisions.
Deep, slow breathing can increase vagal nerve activity. The vagal nerve is the tenth cranial nerve which contains nerve fibres, of which approximately 80 % are sensory and carry information to the brain. In addition, if we can manage our heart rate this can also lead to improved decision making.
If you find yourself starting to get anxious, notice your heart rate increasing and your breath shortening try this breathing exercise:
3 Part Breath
Sit tall, close your eyes. Notice how you are breathing. Place both hands on your tummy, inhale to the full capacity of your lungs so that you feel your diaphragm pushing your tummy into your hands, slowly exhale all the breath out of your lungs, repeat 3 times.
Place your hands at the sides of your ribs, inhale a slightly shorter breath compared to Part 1 and feel your lungs expanding, exhale completely and slowly. Repeat 3 times.
Place your fingertips on your collarbones inhale into the top part of your lungs. This is a short breath. Exhale completely. Repeat 3 times.
Relax your arms and now breath into the bottom of your lungs, mid-lungs and top of your lungs and exhale the breath away. Now breath naturally and notice if there is a difference in your mind.