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The Calming Breath Technique: Simple Tool to Stress Less and Sleep Better

sleep Mar 20, 2018

The Calming Breath Technique

The Calming Breath Technique addresses anxiousness and stress by emphasizing the exhalation. When you're anxious or agitated, your breath is shallow and rapid. On the other hand, when you're in a relaxed state, exhalation is easy, long, and full, with no sense of needing to rush to the next breath. You can cultivate a state of calm that can also help you fall asleep by consciously lengthening the exhalation. Here's how to do it:

  • Settle into a comfortable seated position or lie down.
  • Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Slowly breathe in through your nose, counting to 3 or 4.
  • Pause briefly after your inhale and then gently exhale as you count to 5 or 6 so that the exhalations become longer than your inhalations.
  • Continue in this way without any sense of work or strain. As you follow your exhalations to the end, you may begin to notice a slight pause that occurs at the end of the breath. This is the wisdom of your body reminding you that within each breath cycle resides a brief stillness. By lengthening your exhalation, and strengthening your connection to this pause, you strengthen your ability to cultivate and maintain a quality of calm.

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