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Deep Breathing to Alleviate Stress

Elements Massage Central Scottsdale Mar 16, 2015

In the hustle and bustle of day to day life, you may find yourself feeling drained of energy and battling fatigue every afternoon or evening. One way you can help yourself feel reinvigorated today is by taking a moment to pay attention to your breathing. Most of the time, when confronted with a heavy workload, or unexpected stressors, people have a tendency to only draw in shallow breaths. This can exacerbate the feelings of stress instead of having a calming sensation. Next time you need a quick pick-me-up, try intentional deep breathing to help you hit the reset button.

Not only can deep breathing help you navigate periods of stress and anxiety, but controlled breathing can also help you lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate, and enable you to swiftly pass through periods of emotional tumult by maintaining a positive relationship between your mind and body.  Try practicing the following techniques to help establish an ability to self sooth, turn your mind inward, draw in several deep breaths, and let the tension melt away:

Breathing for Balance
Balanced breathing is a great place to start and really learn how to focus intentionally on your breath. To do this type of breathing, pay attention to your regular inhale and exhale pattern. Then, start to slow the process down. Gradually work up to a count of seven. This means that you inhale slowly and steadily for seven seconds followed up by a balanced exhale of seven seconds. Repeat and adjust your count as need be. A great tool to use when needing to make a big decision or having a difficult conversation, balanced breathing calms your central nervous system and can help you feel grounded and centered.

Breathing Through the Abdomen
Similar to breathing for balance, this type of breathing focuses more on the movement of your stomach area. Place one hand on your lower abdomen and slowly draw in your breath to expand your lungs and abdomen. You should feel your hand move outward. When you exhale, really try to get as much air as possible out of your body, letting the exhale linger. Repeat for at least five minutes a day!

Breathing Through the Nose
When it comes to nostril breathing, to help find balance and promote a calming of your body’s frenetic energy, use your forefinger to pinch one nostril closed and draw in your breath through your open nostril.  Then, pinch your other nostril closed and exhale. Continue on to develop an inhalation/exhalation pattern through your alternating nostrils. Eventually, you should be able to draw in your breath and exhale through your different nostrils without actually pinching the opposite one closed. As a mental exercise, this way of breathing can help reenergize your mind and body and is great to do when working at a desk for a quick refresh or recharge session.

Paying attention to your breath can increase awareness and help you harness the healing powers of deep relaxation that can alleviate high stress levels. Establishing healthy habits to keep you calm like regular exercise, eating healthy foods, relaxing massage treatments, and more can nurture your mind and body connection and contribute to a greater sense of wellbeing!

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