Your Breath is Your Brain’s Remote Control
By Crystal Goh

The breath is a powerful tool that can impact our emotional health and decision-making — research suggests that deep breathing can help manage our emotional responses and improve our memory. During the day, we can use the breath as an anchor to cultivate focus, tap into deep relaxation, and mentally recharge.

Here are three ways to embrace the benefits of a full, deep breath, wherever you are:

1) Use your whole breath. No matter what happens over the course of the day, your breath tags along. But too often, people don’t inhale and exhale fully. Breathing with the intention to use your entire lung capacity creates a sense of calm by activating the relaxation response, which brings down your heart rate. Try this seven-step intentional breathing practice to defuse stress.

2) Create footholds for focus. With so many thoughts racing through your mind, it can be hard to concentrate on just one thing. By returning your attention to your breath, again and again, you prime the mind to single-task. This fifteen-minute breathing meditation helps you build awareness of thoughts and feelings so you can tune out distractions later on.

3) Boost resilience with the breath. If you frequently get caught up in self doubt, devote a few breaths to directing your attention to the good things happening today, right now. Doing so provides us with a vital dose of optimism that can help us embrace challenges we face, big and small. Explore this guided breathing practice to to cultivate joy and compassion.

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