Just as a deep breath can ease a stressful situation, regular breathing exercises can have real health benefits. Research also suggests meditative breathing can help your body de-stress and boost your mind’s feelings of calm and relaxation.
In addition, deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange, helping slow your heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.
Give it a shot with these three simple breathing exercises:
The focused breath helps you let go of distracting thoughts and sensations. This is especially helpful if you tend to hold in your stomach. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. Take a normal breath. Follow up with a deep breath, breathing in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural). Once you’ve perfected the focused breath, blend deep breathing with peaceful imagery and a focus word or mantra that helps you relax. A focal point will allow you to shift your attention from stressors to calmer, internal rhythms. Don’t try too hard; this may cause you to tense up. Practice once a day for at least 10 minutes.
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