LEARN HOW TO BREATHE EASY
It’s honestly taken me years to learn how to completely ‘switch off’, relax, unwind and calm my mind. Mindfulness is just a new name for what I feel is just giving yourself a bit of extra time and mental space to clear and declutter our thoughts. This helps us be calmer, less stressed and be, therefore, a healthier version of ourselves.
It’s our first instinct when we’re born and fundamental to every living cell in our body. Yet many of us use less than half our total lung capacity every time we take a breath. Worse still, when we’re stressed we resort to shallow breathing, which can potentially make us more anxious. Exercise disciplines such as yoga, T’ai Chi, and Pilates help focus and calm your attitude to life’s stresses thanks to breath control.
GIVE IT A GO Practice deep and rhythmical breathing anywhere, anytime. It need only take 5-10 minutes a day but can have a profound effect on your mood. I try to do this first thing in the morning and last thing at night (or before a stressy meeting).
1 Lie on your back (on your bed, a mat – or sit comfortably if you prefer), arms and legs stretched out slightly, palms facing upward and toes facing out. Concentrate on relaxing all your limbs, feeling your muscles and spine settle.
2 Place your hands lightly on your lower abdomen. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Keep your body relaxed as your lungs fill with air and your lower abdomen rises. Then breathe out through your mouth as your tummy falls. Focus only on the rise and fall of your hands in tune with your breathing. Breath in for a count of ten and release your out breath for a count of ten too. Repeat ten times.
3 Now place your hands on the base of your ribs. Breath in, keeping your shoulders and arms relaxed, and feel your breath through your fingertips as your ribs stretch and open. Breathe deeply and slowly for ten breaths.
4 Finally place your hands on your sternum (the flat bone between your upper breasts). Hold here, and again breath in deeply and feel in rhythm and at peace with that precious breath.
For this and more beauty wellbeing tips and rituals, aimed at any age from 16 to 60+, check out my adorable little timeless book Spa Bliss, £6.99, published by dbp.co.uk, and available here on amazon.co.uk
Photography Iain Philpott of one of my favourite ever models, Heather Stuart-Whyte