What if there was a type of medicine that could instantly reduce stress and anxiety? Even better, imagine if there were an endless supply of this medicine, and you could get it for free at a moment’s notice wherever you were. Imagine if every side effect of this medicine were a positive one.
You would be crazy not to take it, wouldn’t you?
Well, believe it or not, this medicine exists — in the form of breathing techniques.
But the unfortunate truth is that many people go through entire days, weeks, or even years without ever paying attention to their breath. Often, it’s because they were never taught how.
The way we breath affects our nervous system (which includes our brain). This, in turn, has a cascade of stabilizing effects on nearly every bodily process.
For you, this means an almost immediate reduction of pain and stress that can last throughout the rest of your day.
Don’t believe it?
Try it now and see for yourself!
The following is just one out of countless time honored breathing exercises:
Sit comfortably, with your feet resting flat on the ground. Place one hand high on your chest, and the other over your diaphragm (that’s just below your ribcage).
Feel your breathing with as much precision as you can.
Feel every part of the breath’s journey from your lips and nose, all the way down the bottom of your fully expanded lungs.
When you breathe out, allow your lungs to empty completely. Go as fast or slow as you need to in order to push all the air out of your lungs, in preparation for another full, clean breath.
Once you have gotten used to taking deliberate, complete breaths, try holding each breath in for a count of four.
When you breathe out, hold the fully exhaled breath for a count of four as well.
Feel the difference already? It is very difficult to feel overwhelmed when your breathing is controlled. It’s like you’re reassuring your own body that there is no danger.
When your breathing relaxes, your mind and body relax along with it.
Now, do you want to take it even further?
Try increasing the speed at which you inhale and exhale without allowing your breaths to grow shallow. As you do this, try to extend the length of the pause between breaths.
With experience, you can get a full inhale/exhale cycle up to over thirty seconds.
Do you enjoy this feeling? Make it a part of your life!
The more you practice breathing, the better you’ll get, and the greater it’s rewards become.
Use the stress of everyday life as a reminder to practice. Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed or out of control, return to your breathing exercises. Eventually, this reaction will become second nature.