Are you struggling to remain focused? Then enhance your concentration with some expert-recommended breathing methods. But, of course, remaining focused is easier said than done. We live in a world full of distractions. We can collect human knowledge in seconds through smartphones, push notifications, and IRL distractions entering the concentration bubbles.
Other than that, we all have bad mental health days where our concentration is the first thing to get hampered. For example, the poor focus is one of the main symptoms of depression, high anxiety levels make it very difficult to settle down and sometimes burnout can result in a foggy mind.
In such a circumstance, it is vital to check the underlying cause of wandering minds, including making a visit to your GP or looking for talking therapy. That being said, there are some things that we can carry out to enhance our concentration, which could be as easy as breathing. As per the study released in the Journal of Neurophysiology, when we slow down our breathing and pay attention to our breathing rhythm, our mind becomes very much focused on our parasympathetic nervous system that kicks in, and it has a soothing effect on our emotions.
When we consciously focus on our breath, we stimulate the cerebral cortex, one of the cerebrum’s biggest regions in the mammalian brain. It plays a vital role in memory, perception, awareness, language, and cognition. Through the power of intention and breathing exercises, you can stimulate new brain cell growth in this part of the brain to increase the brain’s functioning. Make conscious breathing a daily practice, and breathing will truly set you free.
One of the most important parts of breathing exercises is you can do them anywhere. So, next time you are finding it difficult to focus, you can try the following steps:
- Sit in a good position keeping your back straight
- Start inhaling with your nose for about four counts
- Now tighten your lips and slowly breathe the air out from your mouth gradually, as if you are breathing out using a straw. Now at the same time, relax your body muscles.
- Breathe out for about eight counts and think of a wave of relaxation flowing through your body from your head top to feet soles.
- Repeat this process for about 5 – 10 minutes.
The world around us is adapting and changing, and how we work is also evolving when we give priority to our health. Therefore, it is most likely that we have faced many new challenges for concentrating in the coming months.
Please look at some of the breathing exercises that we can start right now to enhance concentration.
Samma Vritti or Box breathing:This is a very simple breathing technique that uses a similar breathing pattern. It is a very simple breathing exercise for boosting our focus. But do not allow its simplicity to fool you that it is not as effective as it is so simple. It helps manage high stressful situations for performing optimally, maintaining a very clear head, and increasing concentration. Sit in a comfortable position and keep the palms of your right hand upon your chest and your left hand on your navel. IN this breathing method, your inhale and exhale must be even. Inhale through your nose for about four counts, hold on for two counts and then start exhaling through the nose for about four counts. Hold on for two counts. Repeat this about ten times.
Nadi Shodhana or Alternate Nostril Breathing:This is a breathing exercise that assists in balancing both sides of the brain by alternating breaths between your right and left nostril. At first, sit in a comfortable position and keep your left hand on your left knee. Now position the tip of your index finger and the middle finger of your right hand between your eyebrows. Next, keep your ring finger and middle finger on your left nostril and your thumb on your right nostril. Next, slowly press your thumb upon the right nostril and breathe out using your left nostril. Now start inhaling using your left nostril and then exhale using the right. Complete such 9 rounds of alternate breathing.
Anapana breathing:This is an ancient mindfulness meditation that assists in cultivating present moment awareness by observing your breath. This is exactly how Buddha used to instruct his monks to train their minds.
Anulom Vilom:It is another common breathing technique that helps in enhancing your focus and concentration. Sit in a comfortable position, and then place your hand with your palms facing the ceiling. Keep the thumb of your hand on one nostril and fold your index finger. Keep your ring finger extended to use it for closing your other nostril. Start inhaling deeply using one nostril while keeping the other closed using your finger. Now open the other nostril and close the one you breathe in and exhale. This will complete one round. Practice this for about 2 -3 minutes consistently.
Ujjayi breathing:Sit in a comfortable position by keeping your eyes closed and placing your hands on your knees with your palms facing upward. Keep your throat tight and start inhaling. You can hear a whistling sound when you do so. Hold on to your breath for about four seconds. Then, gradually release your throat constriction. Repeat this for about 4 rounds.
Bhramari Pranayama:Sit in a comfortable position by keeping your eyes closed. Now keep the index fingers of each hand on your ear. Please keep it on the cartilage in between your cheek and ear. Take a deep breath and start to hum softly. Extend this as much as you can. Then, breathe in again, do this about 6 – 7 times, and relax. You can do this about 3-4 times a day. It would help if you practiced this on an empty stomach.
Take out some time in a day for some breathing exercise, and it is one of the best ways to calm your mind and enhance your focus and concentration. Try doing each of these breathing exercises daily.