We’re excited to let you know that we are compiling all the Happiness Hacks we’ve posted. For this “hack” every single one of you has all the equipment you need:
A pair of healthy lungs and an unclogged nose.
Slow, deep breathing hacks your brain’s chemistry, resets the autonomic nervous system and activates the parasympathetic nervous system that calms and relaxes the body.
Nasal Breathing – Inhale and exhale through your nose*
- Inhale deeply for a count of four,
- Exhale for a count of four
- Repeat 4 times
(Can’t get easier than this IF you know how to breathe and count to 4)
*Nasal breathing is better than mouth breathing: Your lungs extract oxygen from the air and the absorption of oxygen happens mostly on exhalation. Exhaling through the nose (because it’s smaller than your mouth) creates greater air pressure and therefore a slower exhalation. Your lungs get extra time to extract a greater amount of oxygen.
Diaphragmatic breathing is the best known and one of the most powerful breath exercises to reduce the stress response, get oxygen flowing to your brain and in your body. Here’s how:
Longer, deeper breaths into your abdomen, slows your heart rate and activates the calming, parasympathetic nervous system.
- To feel your diaphragm move as you breathe place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your ribs.
- Take slow, full breaths
(your hand moves in and out with each breath).
- Inhale slowly through your nose, expanding your diaphragm
- Exhale slowly through your nose (or mouth) and tighten your diaphragm
(just like squeezing a lemon to get all the juice out)
- The hand on your upper chest should remain as still as possible throughout.
It may take you a bit of effort at first to do this cuz it ain’t the usual way you breathe.
With continued practice, diaphragmatic breathing AND HAPPINESS will become easier, Easier, EASIER.
After you get the hang of it, you can practice diaphragmatic breathing and feeling HAPPY . . . without using your hand. (You can do this anywhere, anytime – lying down, sitting at the opera, standing in a check-out line . . . ).