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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation

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Melli O'Brien



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Soothe Yourself With 4-Step Breathing

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Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today I'm going to share a breathing

technique that will help you soothe stress

and anxiety and calm your nervous system.

So why would we need to calm

our nervous system at all?

Well, for many of us, daily life

is very demanding, busy ,stressful.

And so what tends to happen is we get

stuck with our nervous system kind

of caught in fight or flight mode.

And fight or flight mode is the same

system that turns on in an animal if

it's running from a predator in the wild.

It's a stress response.

So the heart is beating faster, breathing

speeds up and become shallow, blood

pumps out to our extremities so that

we can get ready to run or fight.

Vision narrows and stress hormones

get released into the body

like adrenaline and cortisol.

In this mode, we're also very

reactive and the mind tends to

really race, but we can't think

all that clearly and objectively.

So when we get stuck in this mode

of being, it really takes its toll.

So we might get to the end of the day

feeling pretty edgy and bleary-eyed

we've probably all been there, right?

And we may have ways of taking

the edge off at the end of the

day, maybe a glass of wine, or

we zone out in front of the TV.

But although these strategies might

be relieving in the moment, they don't

actually help us reset our nervous

system so that we can effectively

let go of stress and recover.

But the impact of this ongoing

stress over time can be quite

detrimental to our long-term health.

When we don't reset our nervous

system remaining in fight or flight,

it disturbs our sleep and our

ability to think clearly and relax.

And it's actually just really

unpleasant to live in that kind of

wired, but tired state all the time.

So to effectively ease our stress

response, we need to activate the

body's natural relaxation response.

And breathing deeply with a slow,

steady, even inhale to exhale ratio,

stimulates our nervous system to switch

gears into the relaxation response.

It calms the body down and that in turn

tends to calm the mind down too, and

then the stress response switches off.

So in this way, deep, slow, even

breathing helps us ease, anxiety,

fear, and stress, and helps us relax.

As our heartbeat decreases, our

breathing slows, our racing mind

starts to settle and a lot of

that inner turmoil just relaxes.

So in today's meditation, I'm going

to guide you through a really simple

breathing practice called the 'force

that breath.' And then once you

learn it after today's meditation,

you can use it any time you want to

soothe your body's stress response.

So this is wonderful to use at the end

of the day when you want to unwind or

any time you're feeling stressed or

anxious, or you just want to settle

yourself in before a good night's sleep.

So I invite you to begin to settle

in now for today's practice.

And as always thank you for your

practice and your presence here with us.

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