Learning to control our breathing is essential to reduce stress and to perform successfully under pressure, no matter what we are trying to achieve. For my fellow golfers, don't let the alligator crossing the fairway, or your last bad shot unsettle your mind. Allow yourself a few smooth breaths before and while you are setting up your next shot. It is our innate biological “reset button”! It simply calms our nervous system, allowing us to better focus and to reduce tension in the body. And that does wonders for our scorecard! Throughout your day, practice the following simple breathing technique, and let it be part of your stress management tool box for the rest of your life.
For those of you interested in delving into the physiology behind this technique, I suggest you watch Dr. Alan Watkins’s TED Talk. It is entertaining and enlightening!
Link to TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q06YIWCR2Js
Long Exhale Breath
Breathe in for 4, hold for 2, breathe out for 6, hold for 2. If you can, breathe in and out of your nostrils. Modify the ratio to suit your own breathing pattern. For example, you could breathe in for 3 and breathe out for 6. As long as you are breathing smoothly, keeping the same rhythm, and making your exhalation longer than your inhalation, you are doing it right. Enjoy!