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Inhale meditation, exhale stress

Take a breather

Is your mind cluttered with overwhelming thoughts, internal dialogue and distraction? Read how some basic breathing techniques can put that all behind as you find clarity and composure.
Woman meditating

Davidji, the author of Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace and Personal Transformation, is a world-renowned stress management expert, meditation teacher and creator of hundreds of guided meditations,  including Guided Meditations: Fill What Is Empty; Empty What Is Full. Below, he shares with SheKnows, in his own words, some practical breathing techniques to reclaim your peace of mind.

Recent studies show we have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day. That’s almost a thought every second and they will continue to stream in for as long as you live. So what can we do to slow down the distractions, step through the fog, take back our mind and reclaim clarity?

The answer rests inside. We have the ability in any moment to stop the swirl, reconnect to the calm that lies deep within and step into the next moment with greater creativity, intuition and ease. And all we have to do is breathe! I’ve shared this "16 seconds to bliss" technique with hundreds of thousands of stressed individuals and you have everything you need to do it right now.

Let’s try it together:

  • Breathe in deeply through your nostrils to the count of four.
  • Hold that breath in your belly to the count of four.
  • Witness the breath effortlessly moving back up your chest, into your throat and back out of your nostrils to the count of four.
  • Now hold that breath out to the count of four.
  • And now breathe normally.

That was 16 seconds — and in that quarter of a minute, as you observed your breath, you were fully present. Thoughts were pouring in but you were not engaging them. Your mind was not in the past… not in the future… you were right here, right now, as if your personal ringer was on silent. We call this process meditation — a gentle interruption in your nonstop flow of thoughts, fears, memories, grievances, projections, assumptions and anxieties.

Just like restarting your computer when it gets all jammed up, by rebooting your personal operating system, you’ve given yourself some breathing room – and gifted yourself with all the physical and emotional benefits of meditation now confirmed by modern medical science.

Meditation has been proven to change the physical structure of our brain, increasing the size of our hippocampus (the part of our brain responsible for learning, memory and hand-eye coordination) and decreasing the size of our amygdala (responsible for fear, anger, stress and anxiety). Every time we disconnect from the wild swirl of activity, we carve new neural pathways in our brain. We become less reactive and more responsive, less reflexive and more reflective, less knee-jerk and more purposeful, less conditioned and more unconditioned. Connecting to the stillness and silence that rests within slows our breathing and heart rate; boosts our levels of sex hormone, growth hormone, and our immune system; and suppresses our stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. And most importantly, every time we meditate, we reconnect to our most genuine self — the part of us that is pure, perfect, whole and infinite.

Visit davidji.com for free meditation tools, tips, timers, and techniques.

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