So … how is it going? This time of year is generally seen as a time of celebration, a time for family and friends, of eating, drinking and…. perhaps over-indulgence and extravagance. It can be a time of fun … of laughter …. but it can also be stressful as there is always so much to do … so much to prepare … to buy ….to think about.

So do yourself a favour … take a moment …. just to breathe … stop right now … and breathe!

Research proves (see this Forbes article) that 5 deep breaths from the stomach can help diffuse most stressful situations. When we are stressed our breathing tends to become shallow and frequent. By controlling our breath and breathing more deeply from our stomach we automatically become more relaxed. Try my ‘Breathing Exercise’ now.

Ratio breathing
The way you breathe can have a dramatic effect on your sense of well-being. Many people breathe poorly, without even realising it. This is especially true of people under stress. To improve the way you breathe, try this simple exercise for just five minutes a day. It can help relieve tension and anxiety.

• Sit down or lie down on your back. Make sure you are comfortable and loosen any tight clothing. It may help if you close your eyes.
• Become aware of your breathing, its rhythm, depth or shallowness, and its speed. Do not attempt to adjust it – just be aware of it.
• Put one hand on your upper chest and one just below your ribs on your abdomen.
• Slowly let your breath out.
• Gently breathe in, so that you feel your abdomen rise slowly under your hand.
• Breathe out again, feeling your abdomen fall, try to exhale a little longer than you inhaled.
• Pause for a few moments and then repeat the process again.

If you find that only the hand on your abdomen moves, then you are breathing correctly; the abdomen is moving as your diaphragm rises and falls rhythmically. There should be little or no movement in your upper chest; your hand there should stay relatively still.

• Now as you breath in silently count to 4
• Pause for a few second before breathing out and slowly exhale whilst counting to five
• Repeat five times.
If you find this ratio uncomfortable then adapt to one that suits you. It is important that you exhale longer than you inhale.
Just four or five deep breaths can be enough to switch off stress, so incorporate regular deep breathing breaks into your day.

With our very best wishes for the Season from Gateway Hypnosis.