senior couple of old man and woman sitting on the beach watching sunset

I’m going to tell you about something today that’s a secret. It’s a powerful tool that you have with you all the time, every moment of every day that you might not know about – and it can change your life. It’s called your breath!

We all breathe and we don’t really think about it, we just do it. But, conscious breathing, using your breath as a doorway to relaxation is a very powerful tool that helps reset your nervous system to deal with stress and helps your body heal. I’ve created a simple breathing method called “Take Five.” You don’t need a lot of time and nobody even needs to know you’re doing it, it’s not like you need to go hide in a closet and do this.

Relaxation is not something that happens automatically. It’s something that we have to do, actively. It’s just as important as exercising or eating right. Each of us has to find a way to actively relax and we also have to find a way to be intentional about bringing meaning, purpose, peace and serenity into our lives. It has to be done in a deliberate way, in an active way.

You don’t have to worry about finding stress. Stress will find you, I promise, but relaxation is a little more elusive.  Now, there are many ways to relax but often the simplest is the best.

One of my favorite techniques is what we call Soft Belly Breathing.  Sit up straight; try to relax your body. Put your hand on your belly and just let your belly loosen up and relax. Close your eyes and soften your focus or look at the floor a few feet in front of you.

Now I want you to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. The idea is to breathe deeply into your belly and then feel it expand, pushing out like you have a pop-belly, while counting to five, allowing your body to release the tension.

Then breath out to the count of five, letting your belly relax. Now stop for a minute. Notice how you feel and that was just a few seconds. If you’re anything like me just taking that one breath makes you feel a lot more relaxed.

I suggest that you incorporate soft-bellied breathing to help you relax throughout the day. In fact, I strongly encourage you to take this “Take Five” method of breathing and use it five times a day. Inhale and exhale to a count of five, do this five times in a row. Five in, five out.  Five breaths. Repeat this process five times a day – do it when you wake up, do it before every meal, and before bed. That way you’ll always remember to Take Five.

If you practice this every day your body will start to shift, your nervous system will start to shift, your mind will start to relax, and you’ll have all sorts of unintended benefits that you’ll see from helping your body get in that state of relaxation. The breath is there for you all the time. All you have to do is take advantage of its power and change your life for the better.

By just using the “Take Five” method every day you’re going to change your life for the better.