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Rosen’s Mindfulness Minute No. 2 – A Focus on the Breath

Adam Rosen, DO shares how learning breathing techniques such as counting breaths, box breathing, and 4-7-8 breathing can help us regain control over our body and mind.

February 28, 2024

Rosen’s Mindfulness Minutes No. 2

Mindfulness meditation commonly uses the breath as an object of focus during a sitting meditation. The breath is always with us. It is portable.

While the breath can become rapid and shallow with anxiety and fear, we can learn techniques to help us control the breath and our emotions.

As you may remember when we meditate we take our seat, place our attention on our breath, and when thoughts arise we label them as thinking and return our attention to the breath.

 

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COUNTING THE BREATH

We can count the breath. Count in-out-1, in-out-2, in-out-3 and then start again at 1. You may choose to count to 10 or whatever number you choose. If you ever lose count just begin again at 1.

During the day if you feel stressed you can simply focus your attention on the breath and take three deep breaths. You can do this in traffic or in a meeting. Once again your breath is always with you.

 

BOX BREATHING

You can try box breathing. In this exercise you breathe in for a count of 4, then hold the breath for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4 and then hold for a count of 4.

 

You can try box breathing. In this exercise you breathe in for a count of 4, then hold the breath for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4 and then hold for a count of 4. Click To Tweet

 

4-7-8 BREATHING

Another common technique that you can experiment with is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Here you breathe in for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 7 and then slowly breathe out for a count of 8 and then begin again.

 

ONE SLOW OUT-BREATH

Lastly, you may only have time for one breath. In that case breathe in deep and as slow as you can breathe out. When we are stressed and in a hypervigilant state we are in our fight or flight mode. This is due to activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

By focusing on one, slow, controlled out breath we activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our rest and digest system. This could be used before walking into a meeting or just before you step in front of an audience to give a talk. It only takes one breath.

Experiment with each of these breathing techniques and see which ones work best for you.

Adam Rosen, DO

Adam Rosen, DO

An orthopedic surgeon with a focus on mindfulness meditation practices and patient/physician wellness and education.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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