Deep Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief
We breathe without thinking. It is second nature to us. From the moment you were born you knew how to breathe instinctively. You kept doing it. Breath is Life!
You breathe not just to put air in your lungs, but to enable your heart to oxygenate blood and pump it continually throughout your body. Breathing properly is important because your circulatory system and the proper functioning of your entire body depend on it.
When you become nervous or stressed your heart beat increases and you breathe at short intervals. You don’t fill your lungs and give them the full capacity needed to slow your heart rate and stabilize your pulse. Instead you take faster, shorter and shallower breaths.
We all stress at some point. It’s natural. A car horn sounding as we are about to step off the sidewalk causes a stress reaction (the fight or flight response) that enables you to deal with any perceived danger.
Stress like this comes in bursts, but when you experience chronic stress it is ongoing and altogether different. It alters your brain chemistry and puts pressure on your cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems. In short, it debilitates you and puts your health at serious risk.
Breathing is an often quoted natural remedy for dealing with stress. When you learn breathing techniques for stress relief you will be able to relax, calm down and handle your stress properly.
Breathing deep and slow will help you relax and distance yourself from the cause of your stress, even while it is going on. It is something you can do anywhere and anytime. It requires no setup time, no special equipment, no special training. You just do it. You can be at your desk, in the elevator, out walking, at home or in your bed.
Wherever you are, deep breathing techniques give you instant calm.
Here are two deep breathing techniques you can follow that are suitable for men and women:
- Place a hand on your chest and another on your stomach. Take a deep inward breath of 5 seconds though your nose not your mouth. Feel the breath filling your lungs. Hold the breath for a further 5 seconds before exhaling for 8 seconds. Hold the breath for another 5 seconds before repeating. Do this 6 to 10 times.
- Hold your right hand to your nose and close your right nostril with your thumb; breathe in deeply through your left nostril; hold the breath whilst closing the left nostril with your forefinger and releasing the right. Breathe out slowly through the right nostril. Hold the breath.
Take a deep breath in slowly through the right nostril, then close it with the thumb again and hold the breath before exhaling slowing through the left nostril. Breathe in deeply through the left nostril …… and repeat.
Breathing like this for a few minutes will help calm you.
Whether it is job deadlines, the kids, motorists, relationships, or any other demands or pressures that make you feel stressed, these deep breathing techniques will help reduce your stress and ease the tension.
They will help you to regain focus, stop your nervous system from overloading, and protect your mental health. There are many types of exercise for relaxation, but these simple breathing exercises do work to ease stress and anxiety issues.
More advanced breathing exercises for relaxation can be learned from Yoga, a discipline that combines the mind, body and spirit to achieve inner calm.
There are many ‘How To’ books and DVDs that cover the whole subject of Yoga. You can find out more here.
This really is a case of ‘take a deep breath and relax’.