3 Breathing Techniques to Help You Relax
Breathing techniques are simple, effective ways to reduce stress and tension. One of the best ways to prevent anxiety from overwhelming you is to use breathing techniques to relax your body which will help relax your mind. The mind body connection allows one to affect the other.
So if you are tense and anxious, strategic breathing will help calm the body and the mind. Here are 3 breathing techniques to help you relax. From the simplest to the slightly advanced and highly effective.
1. Belly Breathing
Most people are in the habit of shallow breathing by lifting the shoulders and filling the chest. We have to relearn the natural, healthiest away to breathe.
- Start by placing a hand on your belly, just below your belly button.
- Imagine there is a balloon in your belly and you are going to breathe in and fill the balloon up until it is three quarters full.
- Pause for a moment, and then exhale slowly
Do this a few times. Studies show that Belly Breathing is an effective way to relax and calm the nervous system.
2. 4-7-8 Breathing
This technique works in at least two ways to help you relax. First, by breathing in this systematic way, you calm your nervous system, which in turn will relax your mind. The second way, is that by focusing on one thing, you are distracting yourself from whatever you were stressing over.
- First, empty your lungs by exhaling slowly through your mouth
- Next, inhale through your nose to the count of 4
- Hold it to the count of 7
- Exhale through your mouth to the count of 8
Repeat 3-4 times. This technique has been found to help with sleep, relaxation, and calms the mind.
3. Box Breathing
Box breathing was developed by the Navy Seals as a way to be focused and calm during times of high stress. It is highly effective and easy to do no matter where you are.
- Imagine the outline of a box. You are going to trace the outline of each side of the box as you breath.
- Inhale to the count of 4
- Hold it to the count of 4
- Exhale to the count of 4
- Hold it to the count of 4
Do this several times to help mind and body enter a state of focused calm. Here is a one minute video that provides visual instruction on the technique: Box Breathing
These three techniques are good places to start in learning how to relax your body and mind. There are many other breathing techniques to try. The three listed here are simple and effective. Try to practice a breathing technique at least once a day.
If you find that you continue to feel stressed and anxious, it may be time to speak with a professional. Give us a call or send an email to learn how we may work with you to help you better manage stress and anxiety (908-857-4422 or firstname.lastname@example.org). We are here to help.
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For more on breathing to manage stress: Re-learn how to breathe
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