Saturday, 11 February 2012

Breathing Exercises For Stress |

Everyone experiences stress, at some point, during their day. However, the problems start when stress takes over and interferes with our daily lives. The stress from a traffic jam might easily pass but, when combined with stress from job or relationship issues, even the smallest thing becomes overwhelming. Excess stress has negative mental and physical effects, resulting in difficulty concentrating, digestive problems, sleep disorders and even depression. When we're stressed, the body activates the fight-or-flight response and the heart rate increases in an effort to get more blood and oxygen to the muscles. As a result, people under stress take fast, shallow breaths to accommodate the body's demand for oxygen. Slowing and deepening the breath slows the heart rate and calms the nervous system.

Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is a simple technique that can be done anywhere and at any time. Take a moment to observe your own breathing, feel the air entering your mouth and nose, and feel the lungs inflate and deflate. Pay attention to how much the chest expands and whether the lungs feel like they're filling completely. Notice whether the shoulders are rounded and the chest has room to fully expand. Notice whether the breathing seems easy or labored and stomach inflates as well as the chest. As you become aware of your breathing, your body will naturally adjust to improve the quality of the breath.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

The diaphragm is the primary muscle for respiration and attaches all the way around the torso. When the diaphragm expands, it opens the thoracic cavity, causing the lungs to expand. Many people are not aware of the diaphragm's function and tend to breathe from the "top" of their lungs. However, it's almost impossible to breathe from the top of the lungs while lying down. To engage diaphragmatic breathing, lie on your back and place your hand in the space between the navel and rib cage. Take a deep breath and feel the stomach expand--this is the diaphragm. Take several deep breaths, feeling the diaphragm expand and contract. Once you are aware of how diaphragmatic breathing should feel, try the diaphragmatic breathing exercise while sitting upright.

Cleansing Breath

Sit or lie in a comfortable position, keeping the shoulders neutral and the chest open. Inhale slowly through the nose, expanding the diaphragm and the chest as far as possible. Hold for one beat then release the breath in one explosive burst as if releasing a sigh. Repeat this exercise five times.


No comments:

Post a Comment