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If you want to restore calm under pressure, it’s a lot easier than you think.
It varies from person to person, but you know stress when it hits. You begin to feel overwhelmed, moody, irritable, and feel like you’re losing control of the things around you.
Adding to this, when you experience stress for an extended period of time, it starts to affect your overall health on a deeper level.
There are several ways to use deep breathing in a calming and therapeutic manner.
And when you learn how to take advantage of specific breathing techniques, you can avoid feelings of stress and anxiety altogether.
Implementing deep breathing into your daily routine affords you all types of benefits, ranging from a boost in immunity to corrected posture.
But like everything else in life, you have to try a few different things to see what works best for you.
Wondering what these different techniques are?
Let’s take a look at how stress takes a toll on the body and how pressing the “pause” button for a deep breath can significantly enhance your overall well-being.
As discussed previously, stress can affect us in a multitude of ways. More specifically, it produces a range of physical symptoms and effects on our mood and behavior.
Most of us identify stress from how it influences our overall mood and how we interact with those around us. You’ll look up suddenly and realize you’re extremely overwhelmed and have an underlying sense of restlessness and anxiety.
Some of the ways stress affects our mood include depression and lack of motivation. These influences on your mood trickle down into your behavior and how you treat yourself and those close to you.
You may notice that you’re suddenly withdrawn, experiencing outbursts of anger, using tobacco, or possibly overeating or undereating.
The most disturbing thing about the relationship between prolonged stress and the body is how it creates specific health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Prolonged stress also negatively affects your brain. Stress signals the release of cortisol. When you have an influx of cortisol for an extended period of time, it ultimately kills brain cells, reducing the brain’s size.
This process also shrinks the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making and memory.
When you understand how stress breaks down various aspects of your health, you begin to understand the need for personalized stress relief. In this case, taking a much-needed break and practicing some deep breathing exercises.
Chances are you already have an idea of what works best for you.
However, if deep breathing exercises aren’t in the “bag of tricks” you can turn to in hopes of calming the mind and body, you need to reconsider some of the options we’re going to touch on.
It’s simple; deep breathing exercises work best to calming the mind and body because it sends an immediate message to the brain to relax.
The brain then communicates this command to the rest of the body, calming your racing heart, panicked breathing, and any type of anxiety that may be creeping in.
One of the best breathing techniques to adopt, especially for beginners, is belly breathing. All you need to do is sit in a comfortable position and place your hand on your belly, taking a deep breath in your nose, and let your belly push your hand out as you exhale.
You can repeat this process a few times as needed, taking your time to breathe in and out.
Helpful tip: Imagine stress leaving your body as your exhale!
Some benefits of belly breathing:
Once you’ve mastered belly breathing, you can try other techniques like the 4-7-8 technique. This is also known as the “relaxing breath.” It’s also noted that this technique allows you to fall asleep in one minute if you do it before bed.
Here’s how you get started with this method:
First, take a deep, slow breath from deep within your belly—counting to four as you breathe in.
Then, hold your breath, silently count from one to seven. You want to exhale completely and count to eight, trying to release as much from your lungs as you can.
You want to try this a few times throughout the day to maintain a peaceful, calm balance.
Some benefits associated with the 4-7-8 technique:
If you’re the type of person who likes to stay ahead of the curve, you can minimize stress before it becomes a problem with morning breathing.
This technique helps set the tone for the day, as you begin with the basic belly breathing technique we touched on first. When you start the day with this exercise, you’ll see less gets to you throughout the day, and you are happy and energized.
Additionally, some people like to use this technique as a warm-up for meditation or combine it with the meditation practices in the morning hours.
Some of the benefits associated with the morning breathing technique:
With everything you have going on over the course of the day, it’s understandable you get wound up or overwhelmed occasionally.
The key thing to remember here is to PAUSE and take a deep breath when you need to. When you do this, it works in a way to revamp and reconfigure your mental process.
No matter which technique you adopt, you’ll see how taking a break to stop and breathe enhances the quality of your day to day.
Want to explore other relaxation techniques?
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