Use Your Nose to Relax: An Easy Method You Can Use Anytime

Use Your Nose to Relax: An Easy Method You Can Use Anytime

We’ve been talking about the nasal cycle, and how you can work with it if you want to change how you feel.

The nasal cycle is the way that your nostrils switch off between which one is getting most of the air when you breathe. This cycle has a significant influence on how we feel, because the side that gets more oxygen determines whether we feel that we’re in a more active or restful state.

What Your Nose Knows

Your nose knows when to switch off, and it does this automatically throughout the day. But your schedule probably doesn’t always match what your nose is doing.

Sometimes you want to feel more alert, but if you’re in the more restful stage of the cycle it’s going to be more difficult.

Other times you’re going to want to feel more relaxed, but if you’re in the more awake stage of the cycle it’s tougher to wind down.

Well, you can consciously influence your nervous system so that your state of being matches how you want to feel.

How Your Nose Connects to Your Nervous System

There’s a way that you can breathe that will help you to feel more balanced.

You can breathe in a way that will help you to feel more energized.

And here we’re going to talk about a way you can breathe when you want to feel more relaxed.

So, let’s go into the basics of the nervous system for a minute. (Just a minute, I promise)

Your nervous system is divided into two parts: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is associated with feeling more active. The parasympathetic nervous system is associated with feeling more restful.

I always remember the difference between them by imagining parasympathetic as a parachute that brings you down.

When you breathe through your left nostril, your sympathetic nervous system calms down and your parasympathetic nervous system can bring you back down. That means that you start to feel more calm and relaxed.

Use Your Nose Knowledge to Relax

But you don’t need to understand why it works, or remember anything about your nervous system to be able to make it work for you.

All you need to do is cover your right nostril (with one of your fingers) while you slowly and deeply breathe in through your left nostril. Then cover your left nostril and breathe out slowly and fully through your right nostril. And keep doing that for about a minute.

When you want to relax

Focus on your breathing while you do it.

When you’ve done a few cycles, take a couple of slow, deep breaths with both nostrils open.

You can help yourself to feel even more relaxed by slowing down the pace of your breathing as you do this exercise. Slowly drawing air in through your left nostril and then slowly letting the air back out of your right nostril.

Getting ready to wind down for the day? Feel like your mind is racing and you just want to chill out?

Try it. Just breathe in through your left nostril and out through your right nostril. It’s really simple, but it helps to influence the way your body works so that you start feeling more relaxed.

What Does Left Nostril Breathing Actually Do?

In the first post on this series of breathing exercises, I described what happens when your left nostril is dominant.

“When you’re breathing mostly through your left nostril you’re generally in a more restful state. Your heart rate decreases. Your blood pressure decreases. Your rate of breathing decreases. Your body temperature decreases. Your cortisol decreases. Your endorphins decrease.”

And aside from all of those physical benefits, your mind also relaxes when you focus on your breathing. So that also helps you to feel more calm.

Try it, but Don’t Force it

Also, if you feel like you have to force the air through either of your nostrils to do this, then try it another time. This should never feel like something you have to force.

Or if you try this and it makes you feel stressed out or upset to breathe in this way, then don’t do it.

Just take some normal breaths and feel into how it feels to be in your body.

Send us a note saying how it’s going for you. Or if you have any questions about your experience with it, feel free to ask, and we’ll get back to you.

Thanks for reading! Give it a try! And if you think this is interesting, please go ahead and share it with a friend who might also be into it.

And if you haven’t already, sign up for the Queering Health Newsletter. We’ll send out more awesome info like this to you every week.