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The first thing you do when you are born is breathe, and it’s the last thing you’ll do when you exit. Oxygen is the most vital nutrient for our bodies and is essential for all of our organs and tissues. If we don’t get enough of it, the result is mental sluggishness, negative thoughts, depression and various other health concerns. The act of breathing seems pretty simple and mindless, but most of us will find when we think about it that our breathe is very shallow and quick and we often hold it. Think about how your breathing changes if you’re angry, sad, stressed or afraid.

Benefits of proper breathing

By practicing deep breathing you can expect:

Breathing Exercises

When you’re in need of a mental break, try the following exercises:

Deep Breathing


Diaphragmatic Breathing

Alternate Nostril Breathing

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, with good posture.
  2. Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
  3. Inhale slowly and soundlessly through your left nostril.
  4. Immediately close the left nostril with your right ring finger and little finger. At the same time, remove your thumb from the right nostril.
  5. Exhale slowly and soundlessly through your right nostril.
  6. Inhale through your right nostril.
  7. Close your right nostril with your thumb and open your left nostril.
  8. Exhale through your left nostril.
  9. Inhale through your left nostril. Repeat the cycle.

Breathe of Fire

  1. Kneel on the floor or sit in a comfortable position.
  2. Keep your back straight, with shoulders back and down. Place your hands on your abdomen.
  3. Take a deep breathe. Round your lips and begin to blow the breath out through your mouth by strongly contracting your abdominal wall.
  4. As you release your abdomen, the breath will be drawn in.
  5. Each exhalation should be directed and careful. The inhalation will take care of itself.


Take a moment to contract and tense all the muscles in your body. Immediately relax them. Repeat this three to five times. You can do this drill with your entire body all at once, or body part by body part.

Take a Minutes Vacation
Stop what you’re doing. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breathes. Imagine a scene from nature that relaxes and calms you. Perhaps take yourself to a deserted island, to the top of a mountain or to an ocean beach.

Here and Now
Stop what you’re doing. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breathes. Become aware of your environment. What do your hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? Open your eyes. What do you see?

Having a sense of humor affects us on several levels. From a physiological standpoint, laughter stimulates many of the same positive physiological changes we experience after exercise: deeper breathing, lower heart rate, decreased blood pressure and an influx of endorphins. On a psychological level, humor creates a sense of lightheartedness and play.

How can you incorporate humor into your life?

  • Nourish your comic spirit by taking in a steady diet of funny movies and comedians.
  • Collect cartoons and include them on memos, agendas or presentations at work and on the fridge at home.
  • When planning a meeting at work, schedule something fun on the agenda.
  • Lose any pessimism in your spirit.
  • Get amusing screen savers for your computer.
  • Exchange good, tasteful jokes or other funny material via e-mail.
  • Have a party.
  • Surround yourself with fun, lively people.
  • Laugh a minimum of 20 times per day.


Remember, “It is magnificent to grow old, if one keeps young…” -Harry E. Fosdick

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