Women Mean Biz

Breathing and meditation - techniques to keep us positive.

by Clare Davis on 18th May 2020

How positive are you feeling? What has helped you stay positive over the last couple of months? Staying positive has really helped my mental health. Prior to Covid-19, I have been told on many occasions to do breathing exercises and meditate. I must admit, I have dabbled in both, but never taken them seriously. On 13th April I decided to start a 21-day challenge, meditating and doing breathing exercises for 10 minutes a day. It has changed my outlook and the way I feel.

Controlling your breathing calms your brain and regulates your blood pressure, as well as having other benefits. The first time I started taking controlled breathing seriously was after I saw Fenella Hemus, the founder of Above Beyond Coaching and Training, speak at a networking event on the benefits of breathing, giving us some exercises to do. Fenella does mindset and mental strength coaching. She works with clients to help them get out of overwhelm, deal with personal challenges, get clear and motivated so they can achieve peak performance. Effective breathing is one of the techniques she uses that benefits her clients.

There have been hundreds of studies about the benefits of controlled breathing, dating back to the first millennium B.C. Both the Tao religion of China and Hinduism placed importance on respiration and internal breath for energy. The Chinese call this energy qi, and Hindus call it prana (one of the key concepts of yoga).

In the 1920’s, German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz developed “autogenic training”, as a method of relaxation. The approach is based partly on slow and deep breathing and is probably still the best-known breathing technique for relaxation in the West today.

Later, Dr Herbert Benson, an American medical doctor, cardiologist and a pioneer in Mind Body Medicine was one of the first Western physicians to bring spirituality and healing into medicine. He contributed to more than 190 scientific publications and 12 books and has worked to build awareness of Mind Body Medicine, to validate it through research, and to bridge the gap between Western and Eastern medical practices. His book in the 1970’s, “Relaxation Response” support the conclusion that controlled breathing isn't only a counterbalance to stress, but also valuable for improving overall health.

As I said earlier, my 21-day challenge to meditate using breathing exercises for 10 minutes every day has been transformational. If you need help in breathing techniques, email Fenella Hemus on info@abovebeyondcoaching.co.uk. If you want to chat to me about mental health in the workplace, you can call or email.


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