Take a Deep Breath for Your Mental Health

Holly Molnar (Booking Clerk, Interventional Radiology) (pictured second from the left in the back row) has been attending our on-site mindfulness classes since 2014. “The benefits have been numerous, including the new skill of responding instead of reacting, breathing, focusing on the moment, and being more aware. Dave Gladun is the mindfulness facilitator and he has taught us so much over these past five years through his articles and cool stories, and reminding us to ‘just be’. I am so grateful to work in a place where this type of self-care is possible and promoted. Namaste!”

Remembering to check in on your mental health is an important part of your overall health and wellness. Taking the time to step back and relax, calm your mind and body, and ‘just be’ are great ways to check in on your mental health and de-stress. One way to do this is deep breathing, which has shown to have many positive effects on our body and mind.

Our body relaxes as we breathe deeply, which can relieve any sensation of stress and diminish negative emotions. Deep breathing naturally slows your heart rate so it is more in sync with your breaths, providing a calming effect. Deep breathing also increases oxygen in your bloodstream, decreases your blood pressure, reduces tension, and even helps to reduce pain. As a prominent part of meditation, deep breathing can help you find a calm space, helping improve your overall health.

Diaphragmatic breathing, sometimes called belly breathing, is an exercise that can be done anywhere to bring these positive effects to your body and mind. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just in need of some time to bring your mind and body back in sync, try this short belly breathing exercise.

  1. Sit on the ground, in a chair or lie flat on your back in a comfortable position. Find what works best for you.
  2. Put one hand on your belly just below you ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, letting your belly push out your hand. Your chest should not move.
  4. Breathe out through pursed lips, as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in and use it to push all the air out.
  5. Do this breathing exercise three to ten times. Take your time with each breath and try not to rush the process.
  6. Notice how you feel. Feel free to repeat this exercise as often you need to achieve the full benefits of belly breathing.

If you want additional ways to de-stress, try guided relaxation sessions. Check out our Hospital’s ‘Namaste with Dave’ videos at www.tbrhsc.net/relax. Options are available for 5, 15, and 30 minute vidoes.

Content from this article can be found in our Hospital’s 2020 Staff Health and Wellness Calendar. To date, the Calendar has featured over 300 staff members from all areas and disciplines of our Hospital, capturing the many ways they choose to stay healthy.