Why even one breathing exercise truly matters
So you do not want more tasks on top of your endless to-do list? Times are demanding and stressful enough at work, so you don’t even have 5 minutes, because it will cause you to fall behind on your project? Fully understand.
But what if I tell you that one simple breathing exercise of less than 3 minutes can easily save you a lot of time? Hear me out.
Even one simple breathing exercise a day can be a highly effective way to increase your mental readiness and productivity at work. The benefits of deep breathing range from reducing stress, and increasing oxygen flow to the brain, to boosting your mood and relaxing any kind of tension.
During your workday, there are plenty of reasons to get stressed, and much of it is unavoidable. However, you may not notice that when you are stressed, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid, which can lead to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and even anxiety. Over the course of the day, these factors will compound. They will compromise your focus, increase your error rate and stifle your productivity. This in turn adds to your stress and perceived workload – a vicious cycle.
Reverse The Vicious Cycle
By taking just a few minutes to focus on your breath, you can turn things around. One short breathing exercise can help to calm the mind and body immediately, which then helps to increase your ability to focus and be productive.
Ideally, you do not wait until you feel fatigued or anxious and distractible.
It’s bound to happen and repeat every working day. Therefore it’s best to schedule your breathing break using a free self care companion app that provides a gentle reminder. Pick a time where you know you typically have a low in your day. To some this may be an hour before lunch, to others it may be in the afternoon. If you do that breathing exercise regularly, your body will get used to it and after a while you may start doing it without even needing a reminder.
When To Reap The Biggest Benefits
Apart from the scheduled time there are several opportunities for a breathing intervention during work. Here’s where you can reap the most impactful benefits
- When feeling overwhelmed: complex tasks or sudden deadlines can feel overwhelming, making it difficult to focus and be productive. Stop for a minute, do a breathing exercise, and help your mind and body settle, before rushing into the challenge.
- During a meeting or presentation: Meetings and presentations can be stressful and anxiety-inducing situations. By taking a few minutes to practice a breathing exercise before the event, you can signal your body that there’s no danger ahead. Breathing will reduce your feelings of anxiety and increase your ability to speak clearly and confidently.
- When experiencing physical discomfort: Sitting for long periods of time or staring at a computer screen can cause physical discomforts, such as headaches or back pain. Take a few minutes to practice a breathing exercise. It will help to reduce tension in your body and increase blood flow, which helps to alleviate physical discomfort.
- When feeling mentally fatigued: Mentally demanding tasks can cause fatigue and deplete your ability to focus. By taking a few minutes to practice a breathing exercise, you can help to increase oxygen flow to the brain, which refreshes the mind and increases mental alertness.
- When experiencing emotional turmoil: Emotions like anger, frustration, or sadness can interfere with your ability to concentrate and be productive. Reduce the intensity of these emotions and allow yourself to regain a sense of clarity by breathing deeply. This can be particularly useful when you deal with difficult clients or colleagues, or when you experience personal issues that keep bothering you at work.
What’s A Simple Breathing Exercise?
One efficient breathing exercise that can easily be done at work is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. This technique involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight. This pattern of breathing helps to slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce feelings of anxiety. Other examples include
- Deep breathing is a simple yet effective way to calm the mind and reduce stress. Just take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel your heart rate go down and your muscles relax.
- Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, involves breathing deeply into the abdomen, which can activate the body’s relaxation response. It can help you to focus and stay calm during high-stress situations.
- Box breathing is a technique that is easy to remember. It involves inhaling for four counts, holding the breath for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and holding the breath again for four counts. It helps you to stay calm and focused during demanding situations.
- Alternate nostril breathing is a yoga technique that can help to balance your brain’s hemispheres, which can improve focus and concentration. By alternately blocking one nostril and breathing through the other, you can improve mental clarity and reduce stress and anxiety.
Find a variety of customizable 1-minute breathing exercises for every workplace situation -from energizing to calming- in the Earkick app.
Incorporating a breathing exercise into your workday can be done almost anywhere. On your commute, at your desk, on the way to a meeting – even during your bathroom break. It can also be done with your colleague or as a team.
Just imagine a workplace culture where everyone takes a minute to breathe before starting a meeting!
A Win-Win Situation
By taking just a few minutes each day to practice a breathing exercise, you will start to notice an increase in mental readiness and productivity. This can ultimately save you more time in the long run than you spent doing breathwork by helping you to be more efficient and effective in your job. Make it a regular practice and notice how your overall physical and mental health starts to improve, reducing the need for time off for sickness or stress.
Ready to give a breathing routine a try? Download your free self care companion today!