Harnessing our breath
As well as our lungs, our breath feeds our brains with oxygen to help us concentrate and, via our blood, it feeds our muscles to keep us upright.
In order for our breath to help reduce our levels of stress it takes thought and practise to slow down the heart rate, calm the nerves and clear the brain. Before you are due to speak, take a moment to:
- Stand up straight – if sitting, sit up and centred
- Head looking forward with a relaxed jaw
- Relax your shoulders and let them drop away from your ears
- Plant your feet firmly on the ground
- Do not lock your knees
Now breathe slowly and deeply IN through you nose and OUT through your mouth.
As you breath in imagine the air flowing IN via your belly button filling the lower part of your lungs first.
Once your lungs are full breath OUT slowly through the mouth, emptying the lungs over a slow count of 10.
Repeat this process trying to increase the out breath count gradually to 12, then 15 or even 20.
The more often you practise this technique the sooner you’ll have a natural and effective way of calming your nerves. As a result when you need to speak your voice will sound strong, your body will have less tension, your mind will be clear and you’ll look and sound confident.