Purposeful Breathing is a practical, user-friendly guide to simple breathing skills that can rapidly reduce states you don't want (such as stress and anxiety) and increase states you do want (such as feeling stronger, performing better or relaxing).
The breath is a remarkably powerful mind-body connection. Anxiety, anger, deep calm or steady concentration each have their own patterns of breathing and we move between different styles of breathing every day without usually realizing it. If we can recognize these styles of breathing, we can also consciously change them and this in turn produces change in the emotional state.
People usually think of thoughts, feelings and physical states as different things, but if we think of moving between different 'modes' - survival mode, calm modes, anxious states - then it is easy to see that ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving and breathing are all interlinked. The breath can then be used as the key to change these modes.
For anyone suffering from anxiety, feeling calmer can happen in a breath or two. For anyone wanting to boost performance, the right breathing skills will help them to get into 'the zone' of peak performance. Purposeful Breathing also teaches breathing skills for longer term health and healing, all of which are informed by new discoveries from psychology and neuroscience.
Dr Greg Smith is a psychologist who combines an interest in empowering styles of psychotherapy with a passion for yoga, meditation and mind-body awareness.