Wellness Wednesday: Just Breathe!
How many times have you been told (or told yourself) to take a deep breath when you’re feeling stressed?
Sure, it’s a common phrase, but taking deep breaths can truly help. Deep breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing) activates a body’s relaxation response, which in turn helps improve your mood, reduces stress/anxiety, slows down the heart rate, increases focus, and more.
According to Psych Central, deep breathing exercises can also help manage mental and physical connections like IBS, depression, insomnia, and asthma. There are many types of breathing exercises – below are a few tried-and-true favorites of ours!
This technique is great for when you have just a few minutes to spare. It’s simple: inhale for four seconds, hold the top of your breath for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds. Repeat this exercise as many times as you’d like until you’re relaxed.
Box breathing can help reduce stress and improve concentration. According to Healthline, box breathing is used by U.S. Navy SEALs! This technique is four steps and is based on counts of four: inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold the top of your breath for four seconds and finally exhale for four seconds. It’s recommended to repeat this cycle four times.
Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing is a great technique to reduce stress as it helps slow down your breathing pace. It’s often a technique used while working out, too! After you’ve relaxed your neck and shoulders, inhale through your nose (with your mouth closed) slowly for two seconds. Then, purse your lips (as if you are blowing out a candle) and exhale for four seconds. This breathing can be repeated 4 or 5 times a day.
When you start to feel tense, stressed, or overwhelmed, try one of the techniques above and it will melt your stress away! To learn more about the benefits of deep breathing and other deep breathing techniques, visit these articles from VeryWell Mind, PyschCentral, and Healthline.