Practicing relaxation techniques on a regular basis can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as calm your mind. You can improve your overall health by using the following deep breathing exercise once or twice a day for 10 to 20 minutes. Let’s get started.
Close your eyes. Sit comfortably in a chair with your legs uncrossed, your feet on the ground, your hands loose, resting on your lap or on your desktop, and slowly take in a deep breath to a count of 4. Hold that breath to a count of 6, and even more slowly exhale to a count of 8.
Keeping your eyes closed, and your body relaxed, take in another deep breath to a count of 4. As you hold that breath to a count of 6, imagine oxygen going to all areas of your body. As you release that breath slowly to a count of 8, imagine the tension beginning to drain out of your body or out of your fingertips, like sand in an hourglass.
And one more time, take in a deep breath to a count of 4, perhaps saying to yourself, “All is well.” Hold that breath to a count of 6, and slowly release that breath to a count of 8, repeating to yourself that all is well.
As you practice this on your own, you may notice that intrusive thoughts wander into your mind. Some people use such words as love, peace, and calm to help remove those intrusive thoughts. Others may say a traditional prayer. If your thoughts do stray—which is normal and expected—refocus on the word repetition, or imagine your thoughts as a train, and let the train pass; don’t get on it.
This exercise was written by Marjorie Nichols.