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Relaxation: Deep Breathing

Updated on March 1, 2013

Relaxation: Deep Breathing

I’ve written about taking charge and getting rid of stress, I’ve written about different ways you can do that. NOW, I’m going to write about exactly HOW to practice Deep Breathing.

Stress Hits

Once you’ve reached the point that you’re aware of yourself becoming stressed, THAT is the time to begin. This takes no time and can really be discretely done ANYWHERE! One of the body’s automatic reactions to stress is rapid, shallow breathing, which increases the amount of adrenaline in the blood, etc.…it’s really that whole “fight or flight” thing. This ‘trigger’ causes the "stress reaction" to increase quickly, sometimes in a flash. So what better way to fight it than with the "relaxation response?" The relaxation response I’m talking about is Deep Breathing, which is basic to most other relaxation skills.

INHALE

By inhaling deeply and allowing your lungs to breathe in as much oxygen as possible, you begin to relieve the tension that is the core of stress.  Here are the basics: 

1.  Sit or stand, using good posture, and place your hands firmly and comfortably on the lower part of your stomach. 

2.  Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose but; focus your attention on feeling your Stomach expand under your hands, as much as possible. Do not tighten your stomach when inhaling.  This is considered “backward breathing”. 

3.  Once you’ve inhaled as instructed above, hold your breath for about 3-5 seconds, before exhaling.

EXHALE

4. Keeping your hands on your stomach,

5. Exhale SLOWLY through your mouth, pursing your lips as if you are going to whistle. By pursing your lips as if to whistle, you can control how fast you exhale and keep your airways open as long as possible.

6. As you exhale, your stomach deflates, while the diaphragm (the large muscle under your lungs) expands.

7. When you get to the end of your exhale, your lungs feel “empty”, begin the "inhale—exhale" cycle again.

Try to repeat this cycle three or four times at each session. You can turn off your “stress reaction” and turn on your “relaxation response”.

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