Breathing for Stress Reduction
One of the simplest – yet often overlooked – ways to reduce your stress is simply to breathe! As the day throws task after task in our paths, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to remember everything that needs to get accomplished. Many people get so distracted by thoughts and tasks that they even begin holding their breath between shallow inhales. Poor breathing can affect your posture, the health of your lungs, and your level of mental stress.
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Try taking a few moments right now to tune back into your full breath potential. The instant calming effect that this conscious breathing break gives your mind and body will help you remain de-stressed and tailor more focus onto the current tasks at hand.
First, close your eyes and simply observe your natural breath, whether it is shallow, full, quick, or slow. Sit in this state for several breaths and notice if you breathe into your shoulders, your chest, or your belly. Maybe you breathe into only one of these places, maybe more than one.
Now take a full inhale expanding your belly, and on your exhale, push all of the air out by contracting your belly inward.
On your next breath, begin by expanding your belly, but continue that breath to expand your rib cage, and on your exhale, first gently contract your belly and then your rib cage to push out the air.
Last, begin another breath in the belly, continue into the rib cage, and finally, subtly raise your shoulders and breath into that area, expanding the very top of your lungs. On your exhale, contract the belly, contract the ribcage, and then relax the shoulders back down.
Try this full breath until you can expand all three of those places in one smooth breath instead of in three separate steps.
Doing this full breathing exercise on a regular basis can improve your lung capacity, make your natural breath fuller, and make your lungs more healthy. Whenever you’re feeling a little stressed, just take a moment to check in with your breath.