Control Your Breath to Lessen Your Stress and Anxiety
Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” ~Thích Nhất Hạnh
It is common to hold our breaths when stressed. Just pay attention next time you are anxious or tense. Are you breathing in and out normally?
The lack of full breaths actually heightens your anxiety. Breathing exercises and meditation is recommended as a coping mechanism for soldiers suffering from PTSD. Regulating their breath helps return soldiers to a calm state of mind and focus on the present instead of the run-away thoughts which are driving the anxiety.
“Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a water snake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
This sounds like great advice for anyone seeking to regain control of their thoughts and physical response – not just those under severe duress.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
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