• Rachel Crowther

It all begins with breath


Are you aware of how your body changes physically when put under pressure? For some people it’s wobbly legs, some people struggle to maintain eye contact or can’t get their words out. For me, it’s often breath - my breathing can become shallow, meaning my voice goes unsupported and sounds a bit weak and wispy (not a great look). Now I know, before any important situation, it’s important to work on deep, belly breathing and it makes a big difference.

Diaphragmatic breathing (from the diaphragm) is the basis for many relaxation or meditative techniques and is well known to lower heart rate, reduce blood pressure and importantly decrease stress levels. You’ll find this kind of deep belly breathing can be the solution to lots of confidence issues.

It improves confidence inside and out, here’s how:

1. Breathing deeply supplies your brain with oxygen, helping you to think clearly.

2. Regulating your breathing physically calms you down - providing time to pause, gather your thoughts and be present.

3. A deep breath instantly improves posture, to stand tall with your shoulders relaxed and gets rid of tension in your face. It’s hard to smile when your breath is short and shallow.

4. Your voice is fully supported by the breath, right through to the end of a sentence: helping you sound calm, controlled and authoritative.

All of these benefits are helpful if you’re about to pitch to a room full of strangers but they’d also help during important personal conversations, in which you could benefit from being calm and in control. Taking that time to breathe, provides a pause to think and prevents an immediate response fired by emotion.

Get into the habit of pausing and practicing deep breathing throughout the day. It’ll only take a minute and you’ll reap the above benefits, perfect if you’re feeling a bit stressed in or out of work.

Try this:

  • Start by sitting, standing or lying on a flat surface, feet hip width apart and relax your shoulders.

  • Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly.

  • Take in a deep breath through your nose for around 3 seconds, make sure your belly is expanding and your chest is staying still

  • Breathe out through pursed lips for around 4 seconds.

  • Repeat 5 times if you can. Try to practice this a couple of times throughout the day.

Our drama based workshops give participants the opportunity to practice their personal impact by gaining an awareness of communication styles, how to adapt them and testing these skills in a range of challenging scenarios. For more info on our experiential approach to training, visit www.differentduck.co.uk.

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