Anxiety and stress—which are in plentiful supply these days—promote short, shallow breaths, in turn worsening anxiety. Breath meditation is one of the easiest ways to start meditating. Try this four-step breathing exercise to encourage a calm state and relaxation.
Finding a comfortable position, you’ll focus only on your breath while breathing deeply. As your mind wanders, continue to bring your focus back to your breath:
1. Take a slow, deep breath from your belly.
2. Hold the breath for however long is comfortable for you. Exhale slowly.
3. Repeat the first two steps twice more.
4. Relax and let yourself experience calmness.
This article first appeared in the July 2020 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.
Also see How to Perform Diaphragmatic Breathing.