Breathing Technique for Stress Management
Your breathing is a constant companion that you can use as a compass to stabilize your nervous system and improve your general well-being. Since the dawn of time, our breath has been a part of who we are and has been a tool for self-control. In fact it is the only human act that can be done both consciously and unconsciously and doing so correctly impacts your nervous system directly.
The majority of adults typically only breathe deeply enough to fill their chests, not their lungs, which is referred to as shallow breathing. Making your body experience needless stress and discomfort. If your breathing is shallow, you’re not getting oxygen all the way down into the bottom part of the lungs, which is where many of the small blood vessels that deliver oxygen to your cells live. Healthy cells need proper amounts of oxygen.
I know what you’re asking yourself, “how can I begin to breathe better?” But before you can use your breath as a tool for self-control and stress reduction you must first become aware of your breath. Not in the sense of “i am breathing” but in the sense of “I Am Breathing”. When you can consciously focus on your breath you can begin to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which houses the rest and digest response vs the sympathetic nervous system, which houses the fight or flight response. I do want to make it clear both responses are needed but sometimes life’s hassles can throw this delicate ecosystem off.
One way to become aware of your breath is to practice breath awareness techniques. These breathing exercises can be done with yoga or meditation practice or as a standalone tool for stress management. Including a breathing exercise in your daily routine can reduce tension brought on by stress from the day's events. Harvard Medical School specialists claim that “Your respiration quickens when you're stressed. It gives you more control over your mental state to deliberately slow your breathing.” We can conquer these emotions and lead authentic, liberated lives if we courageously and intentionally address our uncomfortable feelings head-on. Other studies have shown that straightforward techniques, such as breathing exercises, can help people feel less stressed in normal circumstances, such as when they experience test anxiety all the way to calming panic attacks.
Simple stress-reduction approaches, such as breathing exercises, can sometimes be more helpful than more sophisticated stress-management techniques for reducing stress in real-world situations.
Box breathing, also known as the four-part breath helps to calm your parasympathetic nervous system, decrease stress in the body, and center yourself in the present moment. Box breathing involves exhaling to a count of four, holding your lungs empty for a four-count, inhaling to a count of four, and holding air in your lungs for a count of four before exhaling and beginning the pattern again.
. Try different times throughout your day
. Include your family and friends
. It’s okay if your mind wonders while counting
. Discontinue if this breathing exercise causes you any adverse reactions
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