When it comes to overcoming stress and anxiety, we tend to look for complex solutions and overlook something that is easily accessible to us at all times. Our breathing.
Breathing provides our bodies with oxygen, and the significant role that it plays in our lives is evident from the fact we simply cannot survive without breathing for more than three minutes.
So how can breathing help?
Science has been recently able to discover what yogic traditions have known for millenniums. That is the way we breathe directly influences the state of our mind and body.
When we are feeling stressed, our bodies tend to take rapid and shallow breaths which causes our heart rate and blood pressure to increase.
Conversely, research shows that by taking slow and deep belly breaths, we are able to activate our parasympathetic nervous system which slows down our heart rate and blood pressure and promotes a sense of calm and relaxation.
Studies indicate that practicing deep breathing exercises regularly has a wide variety of benefits which include,
Increased energy levels
Reduces anxiety and depression
Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
Helps in muscle relaxation
Deep breathing is even used by the U.S. special operation forces, Navy SEALs to stay calm under stressful situations.
Here’s a simple technique you can use anytime, anywhere to help you feel more relaxed.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down. Take a moment to try this out right now.
Inhale slowly through your nose, to a mental count of 4.
Hold your breath, for a count of 7.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound, to a count of 8.
This completes one cycle. Repeat it for 10 times and observe how relaxed you are feeling by the end of it.
Stress is not something all of us are obligated to face in our daily lives. The next time you are feeling uneasy, anxious or stressed, take 5-10 minutes of your time to do this easy and effective practice to help you feel more calm and centred.
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