It’s something your body does on autopilot but turning your brain inwards to actually be conscious of your breathing, even for one minute, can have a myriad of benefits.
When you’re feeling stressed, do you ever stop to notice your breathing? Chances are it’s shallow and short, a common physical manifestation of strained mental health and anxiety.
Shortness of breath is part of our body’s fight-or-flight response, a way of protecting us from danger. But with anxiety, even though you’re not running for your life, your body responds as if you are.
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It’s why breathwork, techniques that once sat on the fringes of alternative medicine–though respected in spiritual practices for thousands of years–has more recently been scientifically recognised as an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety caused due to high cortisol levels, lower blood pressure, even improve the immune system.
A new feature called Heart Coherence has been added to the Relax Melodies app, with the beautiful visual of a golden butterfly to accompany a minute-long breathing exercise.
Asking for six, slow breaths, the butterfly’s wings open and close with each five-second inhale and exhale and with just one round, the difference is noticeable.
The positive effects of this practice are said to last four to six hours.
“With everything happening in the world right now, it’s normal that many of us are experiencing higher levels of anxiety. Breathing techniques like Heart Coherence are a fast way to manage these sensations from the comfort and safety of home,” said Aster J. Haile, head of wellness at Relax Melodies.
Even though I’m not huge into meditation (not that I don’t want to be, I just kind of forget about it) I tried Heart Coherence as a way of relaxing before falling asleep and it really worked wonders.
“Relaxation techniques are a helpful tool to unwind before bedtime. This will allow you to worry less and fall asleep peacefully,” said Dr. Reut Gruber, scientist, psychologist and sleep expert.