Breathe Out Your Stress!
Review how you’re feeling at this moment – are your muscles tense? Are you feeling stressed? Is feeling tense and stressed the norm for you? Would you like to feel more relaxed?
A greater sense of relaxation is only a breath away. Working with the breath is an ancient and very accessible stress management and self-care technique. Taking a deep, cleansing breath lowers blood pressure and pulse and respiration rates. Additionally, it helps promote the release of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter, into the bloodstream. Many benefits for something that takes hardly a minute!
To get the most of these benefits, diaphragmatic or belly breathing is key. To identify whether you are breathing high up in your chest or in your belly, place one hand on your chest and another hand on your stomach. As you breathe normally, notice which palm is moving. If you notice movement in both hands or more movement in the hand on your chest, you need to move your breath lower.
To breathe more from your abdomen, imagine that you have a balloon in your stomach and as you exhale, you are forcing all the air out of that balloon. Once you exhale all that air, your next breath will automatically be a diaphragmatic breath.
Do a few of these deep breaths. See if you can establish a pace that is deep, relaxed, and satisfying. How does it make you feel?
Establish a practice of incorporating diaphragmatic breathing into your day. Notice quiet times during your day, such as while you are waiting at a red light or have been put on hold during a call, to do this. And, the next time you notice you’re feeling stressed, use a few diaphragmatic breaths to change your body chemistry and invite feelings of calm and relaxation.
Diaphragmatic breathing – a simple way to friend yourself!
Join the Friend Yourself Project and commit to treating yourself as well as you treat your friends and loved ones. Visit www.FriendYourselfProject.com for more information.