How to reduce stress one breath at a timeJan 30, 2023
When you get lost in your to-do lists, daily schedules and ever-changing emotions, you lose track of time. One of the best ways to focus your brain, recharge your body and calm down when you’re feeling stressed is by focusing on your breath.
The way we breathe is strongly linked to the way we feel.
When we are relaxed, we breathe slowly.
When we are stressed, we breathe quickly.
In order for your body to run efficiently, there needs to be a balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide. Depending on what you’re doing, sometimes you need more and sometimes you need less of each. For example, when you're relaxed, you need less of each to remain balanced. When you become anxious, the balance can become disrupted. Often, you end up over-breathing, or even hyperventilating, which can lead to breathing too much oxygen. When your body notices this imbalance, it can respond with chemical changes that produce physical symptoms such as dizziness, breathlessness, blurred vision and muscle stiffness. The good news is, you have everything you need to restore the balance, decrease your heart rate and create a sense of calm by using breathwork.
How does breathing help restore your balance?
When you focus on your breathing and intentionally slow it down, achieving a more controlled rhythm, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This helps create a sense of calm that decreases your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. It also helps you to reconnect to your body and shifts your awareness away from the continual chatter in your mind (or the panic attack that may be holding you back).
The breath is truly amazing. It brings us rest and energy, it sustains us, and most of the time we don’t even notice it. While you don’t have to focus on our breathing to stay alive, paying attention to it will help you take control of your day.
Breathwork exercises to try:
Box Breathing for calm:
Physiological sigh breathing to reduce anxiety and stress:
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