I saw this animated gif the other day and totally fell in love! Watching it go in and out made me balance my breathing and feel relaxed in the moment. I was able to focus and relax right away!
When we use our diaphragm to breathe it is called diaphragmatic breathing. Why this is important is that our breathing usually is a very shallow and limited in our every day life. To get the full relaxation response, we need to induce deeper breathing.
Try this exercise:
Start by laying down on your back on the bed or on the couch. Take several slow, deep breath, and notice if your belly is rising and falling with each breath. It may take a few tries, but keep at it. When your belly rises with each breath, your diaphragm is contracting, and that is a diaphragmatic breath.
When you breathe deeply, you induce the relaxation response, a biological cascade of effects that reduces heart rate, decreases cortisol, and reduces stress. And who doesn’t want less stress?
Give that a try and comment below to let me know how it goes!