Breathing is an incredibly powerful tool that you can use in the workplace. Whether it's a big meeting or presentation, dealing with a difficult coworker, or just having a tough day, taking the time to pause and do some breathwork can help you stay grounded, focused and energized throughout your workday.
3 of the most popular breathing exercises:
You do not have to be a yogi or meditator to take advantage of the power of deep breathing. Here are 3 simple techniques you can use during your workday:
1. Alternating Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) – this technique helps to balance your energy and encourages mental clarity. To do this, place your left hand on your lower abdomen and your right thumb gently over your right nostril. Close off one nostril with your thumb while you inhale deeply through the other for four counts, then switch sides and exhale out the other nostril. Breathe out slowly and continue alternating for as long as feels comfortable for you. Cleveland Clinic goes in-depth into the “how” and “why” behind alternating nostril breathing here: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/alternate-nostril-breathing/.
2. Belly Breathing (Diaphragmatic Breathing) – this helps to calm your nervous system, reduce stress, and increase focus. Lie down on your back or find a comfortable seated position and place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your lower abdomen, take a deep inhale through the nose and imagine expanding your belly like a balloon, feeling the breath move down into your diaphragm. Exhale slowly through the mouth concentrating on fully emptying out all of the air from your lungs and envision yourself surrounded by a white light of protection or healing energy. Harvard Medical School discusses some great diaphragmatic breathing tips here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/learning-diaphragmatic-breathing.
3. Box Breathing – one of the most useful breathing exercises for work-related stress is box breathing. This helps you to regulate your breathing and is especially helpful if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Inhale through the nose for four counts, hold the breath in for four counts, then exhale slowly out of the mouth for four counts and finally hold your lungs empty for four more counts. This can be repeated several times until you feel yourself calming down and your breathing becoming slower and more regular. This technique helps to activate your parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for restorative functions like digestion and relaxation. This great article by Healthline expands on box breathing: https://www.healthline.com/health/box-breathing#tips-for-beginners.
Which method should I use in different situations?
Let’s learn about some specific scenarios that you might encounter during your work week and how to use these 3 methods (and additional techniques) in your everyday work life.
If you're worried about speaking up during a meeting, take a few moments to practice alternate nostril breathing. This technique helps to balance the two sides of your brain and brings clarity and confidence so you can successfully contribute.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by everything on your plate or like there’s too much to juggle at once, try the belly breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) method.
The connection between breathwork and your sales career:
If you are a salesperson, breathwork can help you manage the pressure of meeting targets and stay confident when talking to customers before a sales meeting. Take a few minutes to practice some deep breathing and visualize yourself being successful. Breathe in through the nose for four seconds, hold for two seconds and breathe out through your mouth for six seconds. This will help relax your body, quieten the mind and open up creativity when thinking of ideas or solutions to tricky situations. If you notice that the meeting isn’t going well, take a few moments to regroup by taking some slow, deep breaths. This will help bring clarity and focus back to the conversation.
In sales, going from one meeting to the next can often leave you feeling drained and exhausted. Try taking a few minutes between meetings to practice some mindful breathing exercises. This will help you create a sense of calm, boost your energy levels and stay positive throughout the day.
Tired? Try this…
If you find yourself feeling tired in the middle of the day, try implementing a few mindful breaths into your lunch break. Take a few deep breaths and visualize yourself connecting with your inner strength and resilience. This will help bring you back to center so you can stay focused on the tasks at hand.
If you find yourself feeling sluggish in the middle of the day, try implementing a few energizing breaths into your daily routine. This is the kind of breathing technique to wake up your mind and body if you need an energy boost. Start by inhaling deeply through your nose for four seconds, then exhaling sharply out of your mouth for two seconds. Repeat this several times until you feel energized and alert. Another energizing breathwork technique is to alternate between deep belly breaths and shallow chest breaths. This will help bring oxygen to all the parts of your body, boost your energy levels and wake up your mind and body.
A deep belly breath is also a great way to relax and let go of tension when stress levels are high. Take some slow deep breaths into your belly for four seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth for six seconds. Focus on how the breath is filling up your entire body with a sense of relaxation and peace. This will help you stay grounded and centered in moments of intense stress and stay focused on the task at hand.
A shallow chest breath is a great way to cool down when feeling angry or frustrated. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling through the nose for four seconds and exhaling out of the mouth for three seconds. Feel the breath coming in through your chest area and cooling off any tension or anger present within you.
Start practicing your breathing in the office today-
With breathing, there is nothing to be embarrassed about and no right or wrong way to do it. As long as you take the time to connect with yourself and your breath, you are reaping its benefits! So why not give it a try? You may just be surprised at how much of a difference it can make in your day.
If you are at the office, you can breathe in privacy or even take a few minutes to step outside and practice these breathing techniques in the fresh air - they will help you relax and re-energize. Remember, your breath is always with you, so take advantage of its power throughout your workday!
The key to successful breathwork at work is consistency. Try to incorporate some breathing exercises into your daily routine — even if it’s just for five minutes a day — so that you can stay focused and present no matter what comes up during your workday. With regular practice, you’ll see how powerful these techniques can be for maintaining balance and resilience.
Breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stay calm and centered when things get tough at work. So take some time today to try out these techniques or find another form of breathwork that resonates with you. You’ll be amazed by how much more productive and energized you feel throughout your day!
Expand your breathwork practice with an instructor!
If you're looking for more ways to use breathwork as a tool to manage stress at work, consider connecting with a breathwork practitioner who can help you develop a personalized practice that suits your needs. With the right guidance and support, you'll be able to face whatever comes up in the workplace while staying grounded and focused.
By incorporating breathwork into your daily routine, you'll be able to face whatever comes up in the workplace while staying relaxed and focused. Breathing is one of the most powerful tools we have to calm our minds and stay grounded when things get tough at work, so make sure to take some time each day to incorporate deep breathing exercises or find another form of breathwork that resonates with you. With regular practice, you'll be amazed at how much more productive and energized you can feel throughout your day!