For some it’s a holiday. It’s Good Friday leading into Easter, and Passover started on Monday. Sometimes holidays can be stressful, and even if it’s not a holiday for you, there are times you just need to unwind after a long week. Or your baseball team has only won one game and you don’t know what to do. Blue Jays, I’m looking at you!
When you’re under stress, your muscles get tense, and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. One of the best ways to stop it is to breathe deeply and slowly. It sounds simple, and it is. However, most of us don’t normally breathe deeply unless we’re paying attention to it.
Deep breathing is one of the best techniques for relieving stress.
By helping you let go of tension, deep breathing can relieve headaches, backaches, stomachaches and sleeplessness. I can’t even measure the value of deep breathing versus the time it takes to do it.
How deep breathing works
A lot of us breathe from the chest; it’s shallower breathing, so less oxygen is taken in with each breath. As a result, blood is forced to move through the system quickly so that enough oxygen gets to the brain and organs and increases our blood pressure. Deep breathing can reverse these effects. It releases endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller) into the system, allowing blood pressure to return to normal.
How to deep breathe
- Sit, stand or lie down.
- Begin by breathing in through your nostrils. Silently say the word in, and let your lower abdomen fill with air.
- Then breathe out and say the word out, as you let the air escape through your lips.
- Repeat this breathing for two minutes or more each time.
- With practice, you will be able to count slowly to ten or higher.
Tip: You can relax more if you imagine a peaceful scene such the smell of something you like or lying on the beach.
Have a wonderful day and weekend!