15 September 2009

Breathing To Relieve Stress And Anxiety

Stress is no stranger to any of us and we need to accept that
it is an indefinite part of our lives. Every time we get
stressed out, our bodies will naturally produce certain hormones
because of the intense feelings we are having. As a result, our
heart starts to beat faster and the blood flow in our system
increases. If we allow these stressors to constantly haunt us
for prolonged periods of time we may even burn out or become
extremely fatigued.

How then do you attempt to handle and deal with something that
you know will always be there? How do you handle stress? There
are actually many ways to do this but in this article we will be
focusing on one way only: through breathing.

Slow and deep breathing has several effects on your body, the
most prominent being the ability to relax your muscles and body
to achieve a state of `peace'. When you get stressed out your
body naturally goes into a `fight or flight' mode. This is like
being in a constant state of high alert. Slow breathing can be
used to counter this by relaxing your body to lower the heart
rate in an attempt to reduce the intense feelings.

Deep breathing does not just involve the lungs but also the
abdomen. Sit back comfortably with your back straight and start
by placing one of your hands on your chest and then place the
other hand on your abdomen. Breathe in slowly and gently through
your nose and you should be able to feel the hand placed on your
stomach start to rise. However, the hand on your chest should
move only slightly. After inhaling to a point of comfort, hold
the breath for a few seconds before exhaling through your nose
or mouth and, again, you should feel only limited movement of
the hand placed upon your chest. But you should feel your
abdominal muscles contract slightly as you exhale. Repeat this
method of breathing for a short while and you should soon feel
calm and relaxed.

The benefit of this type of breathing is that by taking long,
slow breaths that go deep into your abdomen you are actually
maximizing your oxygen intake. The result is instant stress
relief. With more oxygen in your system, your body calms down
and puts you in a much more relaxed state. At the same time you
are also clearing your mind of stress since you are very much
focused on breathing properly and deeply. If your mind begins to
wander bring your focus back to the breathing and you will find
yourself to be much more relaxed.

Deep breathing like this can be helpful for everyone and it
does work, but only if done properly. No doubt there are other
ways to deal with stress, but deep breathing can be done
anywhere and at any time and requires no equipment except for
your nose and a working set of lungs! The important thing is
that it helps you quickly reach a state of calm and to clear
your thinking. Still skeptical? Why not try it for yourself; you
won't be disappointed.

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