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Quick Mindfulness Snack

Every day, you breathe in and out without giving it much thought. While it is true that breathing is an unconscious action, it is also unique in that you can bring it under conscious control. Coherent breathing takes advantage of this fact—by controlling your breath, you can affect your body in a positive way. You actively bring your heart, lungs and circulation into a state of coherence so the systems of your body are working at peak efficiency.

Getting Started 

Find a comfortable position to practice coherent breathing. 1) Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest center. 2) Breathe in for four seconds and then out for four seconds. Do this for one minute. 3) Repeat, but extend your inhales and exhales to five seconds. 4) Repeat again, extending further to six seconds. During this process, keep your hand on your stomach and chest center to make sure that you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest. This action of placing your hands on your body also serves to ground you. Be aware that you may feel as though you need to take a deep breath or that you can't stop your thoughts from wandering. That's okay! Just bring yourself back to focusing on your breathing and counting the length of your breaths in your head. If you find that you feel comfortable taking even longer breaths, feel free. Breaths as long as 10 seconds may feel right for some people. It's also okay to have a longer exhale than an inhale. Start small and build. Gradually work your way up to 20 minutes. Remember, you can practice this anywhere; on public transport into your office, before a big meeting or presentation, in bed at night to wind down or even when driving.

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