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  • Writer's pictureMary Hughes


Want a big bang for your buck? Do this simple, effective, 15-minute daily practice. You will plant seeds for significant heart-health and emotional wellness!

B-R-E-A-T-H-E An acronym that represents a relaxation technique that will nurture your heart as well as your emotional well-being. Conscious breathing is what connects the heart and brain and allows “conversation” between the two organs. Follow each of the following letters (steps) in BREATHE for heart-healing and deep relaxation.

B in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for the Beginning You decide the most ideal time and place each day for practice. It takes about 15 minutes. Put it on your schedule so that this exercise develops a rhythm and is part of your daily routine. Begin with a positive attitude knowing this is a gift that you are giving to yourself.

R in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for the Relaxation To tap into the relaxation response requires focus and conscious breathing. Try to focus on your breathing (and when your thoughts wander – which they will) bring your focus back to your breathing.

Conscious Breathing – Sit comfortably in a chair and allow the gravity of your body to sink right in. Feel the weight of your body supported by the chair and your feet supported by the floor. Place one hand on your abdomen and watch your belly rise and fall with each breath. BREATHE in through your nose and out through your nose. Breathe steadily and slowly and with the inhalation of breath watch your belly rise. On exhalation, your belly will fall. There is little movement in your chest. Relax and focus on the sound and feeling of long, slow, deep breaths. Remember that conscious breathing in the connector between heart and brain.

E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for Envision Research shows that guided imagery may reduce stress, decrease pain, lower blood pressure, enhance sleep, etc. Benefits abound. When you practice your BREATHE exercise imagine your heart parts healthy and strong. Visualize your heart as powerful with all the parts working together efficiently. Imagine the arteries, muscle, valves and electrical system – imagine what they look like working together to provide constant flow of blood to nourish your entire body.

A in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for Apply The apply in BREATHE is an invitation to use this technique in times of heavy stress and use it as an effective coping mechanism. By practicing regularly each heart-healing metaphor will be filed away in your memory. These memories will be accessible, retrievable and helpful in breaking the cycle of stress.

T in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for the Treatment The BREATHE Technique is pleasurable and therapeutic. These 15 minutes will make you feel revitalized and energized. It will leave you with a sense of happiness. The BREATHE technique is a treatment – and can be thought of like a pleasurable experience at a spa!

H in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for Heal The BREATHE technique is healing. When you practice 15 minutes daily you will strengthen the networks that connect your heart and your brain. You teach your body to relax. BREATHE can be used anytime and anywhere. This technique has healing properties that induce relaxation that has been shown to decrease arrhythmias, improve focus, sleep, etc.

E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for End Every effective exercise has a beginning and ending. Before you end make a mental checklist of the healing metaphors you studied in your exercise. Imagine how you might use this work throughout your day (if you need to defuse a demanding situation or you need an energy boost, etc.). As you are ending this exercise take a moment to connect this “cycle” with the cycle of your breathing and the cycle of your heart. Realize and acknowledge the gift you’ve given your heart and your brain with this 15-minute exercise. Be grateful.

BREATHE (created by Dr. John M. Kennedy author of 15 Minute Heart Cure: The Natural Way to Release Stress & Heal Your Heart in Just Minutes a Day).

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