In an increasingly fraught society, where the cost of living crisis is reportedly affecting the mental health of 8 out of 10 UK citizens and 1 in 3 are said to be suffering from insomnia, it has become a pressing concern to find effective ways of managing anxiety, particularly when it’s interfering with the restful sleep our bodies and minds so desperately need.
The nation’s well-being is at stake, and in an effort to contribute towards a solution, the sleep experts at Mattress Online have proactively researched and shared tips on a meditative practice named ‘finger breathing.’ This technique, rooted in the principles of self-hypnosis, is hailed as an efficient and accessible method that helps to mollify anxiety and restore sleep to those who have lost it to the worries of the world.
Finger breathing, a self-hypnosis technique, is an approach designed to pull you out of a vortex of anxiety or restlessness, grounding you back into a state of calm and rational thought. It integrates elements of touch and controlled breathing, guiding you through a sequence of finger holds and hand movements while you concentrate on breathing in and out deeply.
According to research, effective control of your breath can do more than simply help you to mentally unwind. It stimulates the release of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain, which plays an integral role in maintaining your body’s circadian rhythm and managing your natural sleep cycle.
Clare Longstaffe, a leading hypnotherapist affiliated with the charity Cavendish Cancer Care, has developed a diverse range of finger breathing techniques to support patients and their families in dealing with the life-altering effects of cancer.
Through its partnership with Cavendish, Mattress Online sheds light on how finger breathing can be used to regain a sense of tranquillity during bouts of anxiety, including the stress associated with sleep disturbances.
To practice finger breathing, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Find a comfortable position either sitting or lying down. Begin by deepening and slowing your breath beyond your normal rhythm.
- Step 2: Gather the fingers and thumb of one hand into a loosely clenched position. With your other hand, gently cup and rest your clenched fingertips in your open palm. Maintain this position while taking five relaxed breaths.
- Step 3: Swap hands and again count five calm breaths.
- Step 4: Extend your thumb in a thumbs-up gesture with one hand and then wrap the fingers of your other hand around the extended thumb. Gently hold onto your thumb while you count to five during relaxed breaths. Switch hands and repeat the process.
- Step 5: Repeat this process with the rest of your fingers. That is, wrap the fingers of one hand around your opposing index finger, hold for 5 relaxed breaths, and then switch hands and repeat the process.
Chloe Angus, corporate well-being manager at Cavendish, notes that our innate fight or flight stress response can make us automatically speed up or hold our breath during stressful times or periods of heightened activity. Often, we don’t notice this until tension starts to creep in.
In moments of stress, cultivating awareness of our breathing and purposefully slowing down and easing into our breaths can be beneficial in shifting to a state of relaxation and digest. She recommends creating a daily practice of focusing on our breath to help manage our emotions and stresses, providing us moments to pause and recenter ourselves in the present.
“It’s recommended to practice breathing regularly when you are not stressed. If something is familiar to us, we are more likely to remember to use it when we need it most,” said Chloe.
If you’re curious to learn more about the benefits of finger breathing, you can delve deeper into this technique and explore its potential health benefits via this link provided by Mattress Online. This comprehensive resource is a trove of information for those wishing to understand and implement these techniques in their daily life.
So, in a world awash with worries, the practice of finger breathing offers a beacon of hope. A simple yet effective tool to reclaim the precious sleep stolen by anxieties, and find some much-needed peace.