A week or so ago, I posted about how your brain is actually kind of stupid and can be tricked into having confidence in yourself.
Well…it is also possible to trick your brain into feeling relaxed even when you are completely and utterly stressed out.
And the best part is…
All you need to do is BREATHE!
When we get stressed or anxious or panicked, we breathe shallow and quickly, which makes our brain feel even more stressed out and makes our body tighten up.
When we are relaxed, our breathing is deep and slow and our body is loose.
If we control our breathing by slowing it down and breathing deeply, we can force our body and mind to believe we are actually relaxed – we can get ourselves to CALM DOWN.
It can be done before an important competition or in the heat of a match. It can be done before going to bed or when you are simply stressed out sitting at your desk.
It can be done anywhere, at any time and it will help you refocus and relax.
And trust me…It works…especially if you are stress thinking in bed and can’t fall asleep. Like ten focused breaths (if you even make it that far) and you will be out like a light!
So how do you do this deep relaxing breathing?
- It can be done standing, seated, lying down. It can be done with eyes open or closed. Obviously the more relaxing a position you can put yourself in physically (aka the closer to eyes closed and lying down you can get) the quicker and easier it will be to relax. That being said though, I’ve made this work while bouncing a ball before serving in a match.
- The most important part is to breathe deeply. Don’t just fill your lungs with air – breathe deep into your belly. When first starting out, it can even help to place your hand on your belly to FEEL your deep breaths.
- SLOW breathing is also very important. You want to slowly breathe in deeply, hold that breath for a count or two and then very very slowly exhale. There are many different counts you can use. I’ve found ones that have you inhale for a 4 count, hold for a 7 count and exhale for an 8 count; HOWEVER, it doesn’t even need to be that slow to help you relax. I’ve found that even freaking inhaling for a 3 count, holding for a 3 count and exhaling for a 3 count can help. The most important part is to SLOW down your breathing!
To sum up the most important parts – Pick as relaxed a pose as possible to start loosening up the body. Breathe deeply into your belly. AND breath as slowly as possible.
Next time you get stressed or feel anxious or panicked, try taking a deep breath (or two). It may just be what you need to calm down and refocus!