Breathing exercises are one of the most effective natural stress relief tools.
Studies have shown that controlled breathing reduces stress hormones, relaxes muscles, calms the mind and improves overall health.
These exercises influence both physiological factors (by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system) and psychological factors (by taking attention away from thoughts).
Certain breathing techniques can make life better through stress reduction, insomnia prevention, emotion control, and improved attention.
If you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, these mindful breathing tips can help you feel more relaxed and focused:
1 – 4-7-8 Method
This is one of my favorite breathing techniques and highly effective according to Medical News Today. This involves relaxing your shoulders and breathing in slowly for 4 counts, holding your breath for 7 counts, and swiftly releasing the breath for 8 counts. Repeat this 2-3 times until you feel the relaxation chemicals kicking in!
2 – Count your breath.
The simple act of counting your inhales and exhales has a profound effect on our minds when done consistently. Thoughts slow and help us calm down out entire bodies.
I like to challenge myself to see how high I can count before I realize my thoughts have wandered, then try and beat that count. This does a great job of taking my mind off my worries and unconsciously slows my breathing.
3 – Simply notice your breath.
This form of meditation is simple and can be done anywhere. Simply draw all of your attention to your breath and name characteristics of your breathing to help bring you into the present moment.
Do you hear your breathing? Are you breathing from the chest or your belly? Are you breathing through your nose or mouth? Is it relaxed or quickened? Simply notice without judgement.
4 – Practice belly breathing.
By laying on your back with your hands on your stomach, you will notice whether you are breathing from your chest or your belly. Aim to breath from your belly to relax by watching your stomach rise.
I cannot tell you how much this helps me refocus nervous energy and put everything into perspective through slowing thoughts and a slower heart rate.
The act of simply paying attention to breathing can be soothing in itself. If you find this to be true you should make it a regular part of your de-stressing routine.
Keeping a breathing exercise journal is a great way to stay on track and ensure you stay on top of your stress and anxiety.
Good luck and HAPPY MINDING!