Ever have one of those days where you feel too busy to even breathe?
You know that meditation can be a wonderful way to quiet your mind and disconnect from everyday distractions. And yes giving it a try has been on your ever-growing to-do list.Reserve you few-minute for introduction in meditation who will help you start to calm your mind anytime, anywhere and using your breath to calm down and de-stress.
Fortunately, we also have the power to deliberately change our own breathing. Scientific studies have shown that controlling your breath can help to manage stress and stress-related conditions. Breath control is also used in practices such as yoga, tai chi and some forms of meditation. Many people use their breathing to help promote relaxation and reduce stress.
A better way to counter all that stress, is to meditate or implement some simple breathing techniques. The good news is, you can do it at your desk, in the car, at home, in a park, at the beach or just about anywhere.
Breathing and stress
The primary role of breathing is to absorb oxygen and to expel carbon dioxide through the movement of the lungs. Muscles that control the movement of the lungs are the diaphragm (a sheet of muscle underneath the lungs) and the muscles between the ribs.
When a person is under stress, their breathing pattern changes. Typically, an anxious person takes small, shallow breaths, using their shoulders rather than their diaphragm to move air in and out of their lungs. This style of breathing disrupts the balance of gases in the body.
Shallow over-breathing, or hyperventilation, can prolong feelings of anxiety by making the physical symptoms of stress worse. Controlling your breathing can help to improve some of these symptoms.
When a person is relaxed, they breathe through their nose in a slow, even and gentle way. Deliberately copying a relaxed breathing pattern seems to calm the nervous system that controls the body’s involuntary functions.
Controlled breathing can cause physiological changes that include:
- lowered blood pressure and heart rate
- reduced levels of stress hormones in the blood
- reduced lactic acid build-up in muscle tissue
- balanced levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood
- improved immune system functioning
- increased physical energy
- increased feelings of calm and wellbeing.
Below are some great resources that we gathered up to use as a resource.
1.Deep Breathing – Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, too, and can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music. All you really need is a few minutes and a place to stretch out.
2.Progressive Muscle Relaxation – Close the eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two to three seconds each.
3.Body Scan Meditation – A body scan is similar to progressive muscle relaxation except, instead of tensing and relaxing muscles, you simply focus on the sensations in each part of your body.
4.Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the ability to remain aware of how you’re feeling right now. Thinking about the past—blaming and judging yourself—or worrying about the future can often lead to a degree of stress that is overwhelming. But by staying calm and focused in the present moment, you can bring your nervous system back into balance. Can be applied to activities such as walking, exercising, eating, or meditation.
5.Visualization – Close your eyes and let your worries drift away. Imagine your restful place. Picture it as vividly as you can—everything you can see, hear, smell, and feel. Visualization works best if you incorporate as many sensory details as possible, using at least three of your senses. When visualizing, choose imagery that appeals to you;
6.Abdominal Breathing Technique- With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: Six to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure. Keep at it for six to eight weeks, and those benefits might stick around even longer.
7.Equal Breathing – Balance can do a body good, beginning with the breath. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four — all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath.
8.Belly Breathing – With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs.
9.Coherent Breathing – Coherent breathing is basically breathing at a rate of five breaths per minute, which is the middle of the resonant breathing rate range. I achieve this if I count to five inhaling and count to five exhaling.
10.Resistance Breathing – Resistance breathing is exactly what its name suggests: breathing that creates resistance to the flow of air. Resistance can be created by pursing the lips, placing the tip of the tongue against the inside of the upper teeth, hissing through the clenched teeth, tightening the throat muscles, partly closing the glottis, narrowing the space between the vocal cords, or using an external object such as breathing through a straw.
8.Alternate Nostril Breathing – This breath is said to bring calm and balance, and unite the right and left sides of the brain. Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Stress management specialist, such as psychologist
- Shallow, upper chest breathing is part of the typical stress response.
- The stress response can be reduced by consciously breathing using the diaphragm.
- Abdominal breathing helps to control the nervous system and encourages the body to relax, bringing about a range of health benefits.