Breathing to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

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Stress is no stranger to any of us and we need to accept that it is an indefinite part of our lives. Every time we get stressed out, our bodies will naturally produce certain hormones because of the intense feelings we are having. As a result, our heart starts to beat faster and the blood flow in our system increases. If we allow these stressors to constantly haunt us for prolonged periods of time we may even burn out or become extremely fatigued.

How then do you attempt to handle and deal with something that you know will always be there? How do you handle stress? There are actually many ways to do this but in this article we will be focusing on one way only: through breathing.

Slow and deep breathing has several effects on your body, the most prominent being the ability to relax your muscles and body to achieve a state of "peace." When you get stressed out your body naturally goes into a "fight or flight" mode. This is like being in a constant state of high alert. Slow breathing can be used to counter this by relaxing your body to lower the heart rate in an attempt to reduce the intense feelings.

Deep breathing does not just involve the lungs but also the abdomen. Sit back comfortably with your back straight and start by placing one of your hands on your chest and then place the other hand on your abdomen. Breathe in slowly and gently through your nose and you should be able to feel the hand placed on your stomach start to rise. However, the hand on your chest should move only slightly. After inhaling to a point of comfort, hold the breath for a few seconds before exhaling through your nose or mouth and, again, you should feel only limited movement of the hand placed upon your chest. But you should feel your abdominal muscles contract slightly as you exhale. Repeat this method of breathing for a short while and you should soon feel calm and relaxed.