5 Ways to Use Your Breath to Reduce Stress

Current events have been influencing are stress levels beyond those of the normal stress of lifestyle in the 21st century.  Therapy and prescription medicines are recommended for chronic stress, but these methods require doctor and pharmacy visits that may take time to arrange, or might not be available due to the current state of social distancing in the United States.  As an alternative, breathing techniques can calm you during stormy times. Integrate these five habits in your life and gain control of your response to stress and anxiety.

1.      The 4-7-8 breathing method

A good nights sleep can go a long way to help you respond appropriately to your worries, but often getting to sleep can be a struggle. The 4-7-8 method instructs inhaling through the nose for four counts, holding your breath for seven, and then exhaling through the mouth while counting till eight. This helps converge your attention on a primary task rather than letting your mind drift towards hefty tensions.

2.      Detoxify your lungs with deep breathing 

Shallow breaths are a sign of anxiety. They do not allow all the deoxygenated air in the lungs to be breathed out. Closing your eyes and taking deeper breaths, will ensure that you exhale all the toxic air from your lungs. 

3.      A meditative exercise to keep your temper in check 

Meditate for ten minutes every day to put you in the right frame of mine. You can also use this technique when infuriating or stressful thoughts come to your mind.  Mediating works wonders to relax your body and mind.

4.      Visualize exhaling out your worries with each breath 

The human brain is programmed to overthink, and you need to learn to trick it out of this habit. The strong influence of visualization comes into play here. Picture your lungs as balloons filled with worry, and imagine you are letting the worry out as you exhale.

5.      Aromatherapy

Essential oils have been used for centuries for soothing physical and mental distress. Breathing in air filled with lavender or lemongrass oil have proven to relieve tension and anxiety. You can have a diffuser with scents that calm you down or spray a diluted oil on yourself and go about your day.

Something so simple, like breath, doesn’t seem like it would be helpful.  We think that since it is something we do without thinking, it can’t help to reduce stress.  However, by practicing one or more of these exercises, you will quickly find how helpful breath can be, or you may find that there are one or two that are particularly successful for you.

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