Deep Breathing for Better Stress Management
Stress requires time for your body to mentally and physically process. Â A calm environment for your brain to quiet all other distractions is a beneficial component of stress-management.
Breathing is a technique we do not use enough when it comes to our emotional and physical management.
Here is what deep abdominal breathing does for your body:
- Slow, rhythmic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for stimulation of â€śresting-and-digestingâ€ť) and triggers your brain to go into rest/relax mode, allowing you to have a small escape-like experience from any negative pressure youâ€™re feeling.
- Deep, intentional breathing also has medical benefits such as:
Lowered blood pressure, Reduced Heart Rate, Â An increase in nitric-oxide (a molecule our body naturally produces helping our cells to communicate with each other). Â When we breathe deeply, our cells tell our body to be more effective at relaxing. Â It also helps our body cells to support increased cardio endurance and strength, and helps with muscle relaxation (especially beneficial for those carrying stress in their shoulders and neck).
- Deep breathing powers down your mind and body so that you can clear your thoughts to pinpoint your true emotional responses to your stress, and gain more perspective on how you resolve the stress or at least cope with the stress more effectively.
We need 20-30 minutes of deep, focused breathing per day to give our brain and body the best chance of recovery possible. One evening exercise you can do is called â€śThe 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise,â€ť introduced by famed Harvard-trained natural health expertÂ Dr. Andrew Weil.
- Lay on your back â€” either on the floor, your couch or on your bed.
- Silently count to 4, as you breathe in through your nose, making sure that your abdomen rises as you do so.
- Once you have inhaled to the count of four, hold your breath and silently count from 1 to 7 with your eyes closed. Â Concentrate on feeling the breath throughout your body.
- Silently count from 1 to 8, while exhaling slowly through your mouth, making sure that all of the air is out of your lungs when you are done counting.
- You can repeat this breathing routine between 4-8 times to feel totally relaxed and fall asleep with your mind completely powered-down.
Incorporating this exercise will leave you feeling relaxed and better able to handle your daily load.