Some mornings you blissfully roll out of bed and wander into a restorative yoga class, and other mornings, you’re a keyed-up ball of anxiety from the moment you open your eyes.
On those extra stressful days, reiki and wellness expert Kelsey Patel has a foolproof method for easing internal tension: this three-minute breathing exercise.
Patel likes to do it first thing in the morning to start her day off on the right foot, but it can be used any time of day if you need a reboot. Just like any meditative practice it takes, well, practice—but Patel advises to trust yourself and focus on the benefits coming your way.
“You may notice that your body becomes restless perhaps. But just allow the breath and trust the breath.”
“You may notice that your body becomes restless perhaps,” Patel says. “But just allow the breath and trust the breath, knowing that these three minutes and this time you’re giving to yourself is going to… bring you back into balance.”
Watch the latest episode of Good Vibes above to see the full exercise, and scroll down for detailed instructions on how to do it on your own.
1. Get into a comfortable position in a quiet space. Place your hands under opposite armpits, leaving your thumbs out. Relax your shoulders, close your eyes, and take one deep breath.
2. Continue taking deep breaths—inhaling and exhaling fully each time—while focusing on relaxing every part of your body, from forehead to shoulders to hips.
3. Set an intention. If you’re performing this practice in the morning, you can set an intention for your day. Otherwise, just focus on your breath and how the practice is helping you get centered.
4. Express gratitude. After about three minutes, place your hands on your thighs. Keep your eyes closed and take a few more deep breaths, reflecting on any changes in how you feel. Then, fold your hands in prayer and cultivate feelings of gratitude for the time you spent taking care of yourself.
Looking for more anxiety-easing methods? Here’s how to de-stress according to your astrological sign, or consider taking up this surprising sport that has been linked to decreased anxiety.