15th April 2019

Want to DO WELL in your EXAMS? YOU NEED to Breathe

The human body was not designed to sit all day long at a desk and travel by car or sit in front of a TV set. Proper breathing will help to release some of the tension, restriction and pressure built up in the body and is crucial for overall well-being. You’ll be amazed at how calm and centred just a few deep breaths can make you feel.

Obviously, breathing properly comes with physical benefits. It allows more oxygen to enter the blood stream and expels old, stale breath and toxic irritants. It relaxes the adrenal glands and allows the body to redistribute energy in more productively.

The mental benefits are enhanced concentration and focus. You should feel a reduction of mind chatter and development of clear, creative thoughts. Stress can be relieved along with, anxiety, and anticipation and can increase your ability to shift states of mind from panicked to calm.

So how do you breath in such a way that gives you these amazing benefits?

Prepare to breathe

  • Slip your shoes off and place your feet on the floor
  • Sit up straight and tall, distributing your weight evenly on both bones that you sit on
  • Rest your arms on your thighs or by your side, palms up, thumb and index finger touching

The palms up makes your shoulder joints open and focus your energy upward, toward the sky. The thumb and index finger connection creates a balance between mind and body. It sounds odd but opening and loosening these muscles are the first step to breaking down the tension that’s stopping you relax.

Group of people doing yoga

Deep breathing

  • Inhale deeply, filling your belly, lower lungs, mid-lungs, upper lungs and chest
  • Slowly push the breath out of your upper lungs, mid-lungs, lower lungs and belly

This expands your lungs to their maximum capacity but also eases the tension through all the other abdominal muscles you never realise become tense when you are under stress.

Breathing with head bowed

  • Keeping your eyes closed; bring your chin to your chest
  • Take three long breaths and then slowly bring your neck to its upright position by uncurling it one vertebra at a time

This will allow oxygen to reach the muscles of your neck whilst it is relaxed and stretched out. The neck and back are common areas for muscles to become tight and painful when in high tension or stressful situations. So this exercise should help to relieve excess tension to those muscles.

Breath rhythm

  • With your eyes closed, focus on an inhale slowly for 3 counts
  • Exhale out for five counts
  • Then repeat those steps three times or more

This is great for providing a quick calming sensation for your body and mind.

Thank you to Lynn Squire, Head of Sport, Leisure and Hospitality Industries at South Devon College, for the support with this article.

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