It’s the second part in our Thrive in Five series, sharing simple strategies to help pick up your mood whenever you need to. If you missed the previous post on natural light, and how to get more of it, you can read it here. This week is about one of my new daily non-negotiables: something I do every day, irrespective of whatever else is going on in my life. It’s using breathwork for mood, specifically how to control it, and I’m going to show you how.
Controlling your nervous system
Breathwork is a powerful tool for managing and controlling your nervous system. It has the amazing ability to move you into a sympathetic state when you need to feel more energised, or a parasympathetic state when it’s time to relax. It’s something I’ve found so helpful: being able to calm down or lift myself up on demand. And there are a number of ways you can go about practicing it yourself.
Here are a couple of examples:
Those of you who know my content will likely have heard me talk about the Oura Ring. I’ve had one for years, and have recently started using the Oura app’s guided audio breathwork exercises. In addition, there’s another app called Othership, which has some great sessions for lifting you up or bringing you down – and they’re set to music, too! So I definitely recommend playing around with those two apps when exploring what works for you.
There’s also a great book by Richie Bostock, known as The Breath Guy, who I’ve worked with a bit, and has featured on my podcast before. The book is called Exhale, and features more than forty breathing exercises to improve your physical and mental health, performance and emotional well-being, as well as some more background and interesting science, too!
A Daily Non-Negotiable
I said earlier that using breathwork for mood management is now one of my daily non-negotiables: I’ve been doing sessions anywhere between six and 15 minutes. There are longer and shorter versions available on the apps, but this is what I’ve found works for me. And essentially, what it does is teach you to control those nervous system reactions. For example, I use it in the morning to kickstart the day in the right direction, and influence my mood positively whenever I feel I need to.
So here’s an idea for you: could you designate a few minutes today to do a few minutes of breathwork for mood and see how you feel afterwards? And, if you feel a little better, try it tomorrow, and the day after and see if you can build a deliberate habit?
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