So you’re sitting behind your desk all day at work, staring at a computer screen without a chance to move, let alone stand and stretch. By the end of your shift, your back is tense, your neck is in more knots than a sailboat, and your head is pounding louder than a John Philip Sousa marching band! Is there anything you can do to reduce your stress and ease your growing tension?
The answer is Yes- and it’s something as simple as Breathing!! Now- I know you are thinking, “I’m already breathing!!” But the point is that there is a more efficient and healthy way of going about this unconscious process that can make a dramatic difference in your day!
If you are looking for stress relief, practicing deep breathing is one of the best services that you could be doing to yourself. In normal circumstances, taking a deep breath, by itself, is deeply relaxing. But, most of us are used to ‘shallow breathing’ using only 20% of our lung capacities. Bad breathing habits lead to the imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. Correct breathing purifies the blood, provides more energy, and calms the mind and the body.
It may sound simple, but there is actually something very complex at work while we breathe. Deep breathing has been shown in studies to change the chemical balance in our brains to help calm us down.
Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing, and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation. Too much attention on upsetting thoughts may cause anxiety, guilt and unhappiness. So, getting in the habit of shifting your awareness to your breath whenever you find yourself dwelling on stressful situations will actually result in reduced anxiety, agitation and stress, while promoting relaxation, calm and inner peace.
Here is an easy way of starting to do it:
- Sit in a comfortable upright position with your legs uncrossed, head straight, eyes closed, and arms and hands relaxed.
- Slowly count to four while you breathe in through your nose. Hold your breath for a second.
- Count to four again, this time while breathing out slowly through your mouth.
- Repeat a few times.
So the next time you’re stressed and can’t get a break- try this simple technique. I think that you will find that the breath is not something you should “blow off”. It’s a powerful tool for influencing better health and wellness- and the best part is that it is literally “right under your nose!!”