Stress affects everyone. Whether you are dealing with work- or home-related problems, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and deal with problems related to anxiety. Stress and anxiety can cause a number of physical health issues. For instance, when you have chronic stress, it can lead to issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, diabetes, and more.
If the problems become severe enough, stress can cause issues such as forgetfulness, frequent aches, lack of energy, tiredness, trouble sleeping, upset stomach, and use of drugs or alcohol to relax.
Luckily, there are many ways that you can deal with and attack these problems and symptoms that you may be facing. There are many meditative and mindfulness techniques that you can implement in your life to improve your symptoms and reduce the stresses that you are dealing with. Breathing exercises are one of the best ways that you can help your situation.
Breathing techniques are common during yoga routines and classes which can help you relax and release tension. With that said, these techniques can be used at any time, anywhere, even while you’re not in a yoga class.
During our day-to-day lives, most of us take quick, shallow “chest breaths” that can leave us feeling tense and tired. According to Harvard Medical School, abdominal breathing, also called “belly breathing,” is a basic yoga technique that combats the effects of chest breathing. This type of breathing technique emphasizes deep breaths to create an abdominal movement, it is best learned while lying on your back with one or both hands on your abdomen.
To take an abdominal breath, simply inhale slowly and deeply, drawing the breath into the lowest part of your lungs so that it causes your hand to rise. Your stomach should expand and rise as you inhale and contract and lower when you let the breath go. This type of breathing can be useful at any time of the day when you need to calm down.
Paced Breathing is a technique that can help to reduce stress in the body by promoting a positive state between your respiration system and your heart. The basic technique for paced breathing is to inhale for a count of two to four seconds and exhale for a count of four to six seconds. The specific time is up to you and it is best to find the combination that works best for you.
During this, be sure to focus your attention on a specific object, image, sound, and even your breath to free your mind from distractions. If you notice that your mind is wandering, just redirect your focus back to the counting and breathing.
This type of breathing technique should be used when feeling stressed or tense as it can help calm down the nervous system, clear the head of distractions and minimize stress issues. To practice 4-4-8 breathing, you should be sitting. To do it, breathe in through the nose and count to four, take the breath into your stomach, hold your breath for a count of four, and release the breath through your mouth with a whooshing sound for a count of eight.
Without a break, breathe in again and repeat the entire technique three to four times in a row. Be sure to focus on counting while you breathe in and out.
These breathing techniques can come and handy and really work to help you deal with problems related to stress, anxiety, and more. However, there are a number of other techniques that you can employ to help you reduce stress in your lives.
For example, prioritizing diet and exercise can go a long way in helping you not only reduce stress but also improve your mental and physical health situation. Similarly, cutting out negative habits, like excessive drinking or smoking can help you find other, more healthy, coping methods to deal with stress. Moreover, if something is not done, these problems can lead to issues like an addiction which will only exacerbate the problem. Luckily, there are a number of resources available to help you learn how to stop drinking or how to cut back on smoking and improve your overall health.