Believe in Yourself Day 1: Deep Breathing

A Restorative Yoga Practice for Surrendering this Holiday Season
December 15, 2018
Believe in Yourself Day 2: Using a Mantra
January 30, 2019

If I could ask one thing of you today it would be this, please believe in yourself.

For many of us, myself included, we spend a lot of time doubting our abilities, questioning ourselves, and putting ourselves down.  But what do you think might happen to yourself and your life if you started to, for just 5 minutes each day, believe in yourself? What would change? How much could it change?

I wish I could tell you all to your faces that you are powerful, that you are loved, and that you have the ability to do anything. I also wish that if I or someone else said this to you, that you’d believe it. We all deserve happiness And love. And success. No matter what that looks like to each of us as individuals.

It doesn’t really matter what your goals are. CEO, yoga teacher, stay at home mom or dad, construction worker, doctor, chef, mechanic, etc. They can be anything, no matter how big or small, inward or outward facing, focused on your career or health (physical, mental or emotional), or anything else. What matters is that we believe.

I’m a firm believer in that if you can believe it, it can happen. It doesn’t mean it won’t be hard, or take time or energy, because it probably will. And you’ll still experience periods of struggle, anxiety, sadness, or frustration. But if your mindset isn’t there, if you don’t believe in whatever it is that you want, it’s never going to happen.

The mind is a powerful thing. I won’t go into too much detail about it, but if you want to research it, go for it. Just know there is a lot of information available. A LOT. There are some pretty amazing books, articles, and blogs out there. What I’m most interested in is giving you some tools you can use to get started on working towards believing in yourself. I’m going to focus on 5 topics over the next 5 days. Each day I want you to spend a few minutes practicing or learning more about the topic. When you’re finished with all 5 days, pick a few that feel good for you, explore them a little more, and know that you are always free to change these up. Not everything works in the same way for everyone, we are human after all.

Day #1: Deep or Diaphragmatic Breathing

Shallow breathing is often linked to anxiety and high blood pressure, whereas deep breathing helps quiet the mind, reduces blood pressure, alleviates stress and increases confidence. Deep breathing is done by using the diaphragm muscle and the belly. It helps to bring more oxygen into the body and trigger its relaxation response, especially when done for extended periods of time. 

Day 1 To-Do: This is one where it’s easier to just jump in and start, so let’s get practicing!

To practice diaphragmatic breathing come to a comfortable position. It might be easiest to start lying down, but this can be done standing or seated as well. Place one hand on your chest and the other just below your ribcage. You don’t always have to do it this, but it’s good to start here so you can feel how this area of your body moves with each breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of 4, hold it for a second, and then slowly start to exhale through your nose to the same count. Pause and begin again. As you breathe in and out, you’ll start to notice how your chest, specifically around your rib cage rises on the inhale and falls back down on the exhale.

Important note – if you decide to research this more, try not to get caught up on the differences between diaphragmatic breath and belly breath, and how much one area of your chest and/or belly should be expanding over the other. Some will tell you that only your chest and rib cage should move, others will say that you should push your belly against your hand and intentionally push it out as you inhale. Everybody is different and for some of us the chest will rise a little more or the belly will rise a little more, and that is fine! What matters most is that you take full, deep breaths and that you are able to gain something from it, whether that be less stress, more confidence, or something else!