Just breathe…for stress relief
If you don’t breathe, you don’t live. However, most adults have forgotten how to breathe, especially during times of stress. Most of us use the intercostal (the small muscles between the ribs) muscles to breath, which only utilizes the upper and middle areas in the lungs. And when we are in the midst of a stressful event most people have a tendency to use this shallow breathing pattern which is not efficient at completely filling the lungs and exposing all surface area to oxygen.
Oxygen is essential in keeping our tissues healthy and our brain functioning. The main physiological purpose of breathing is to expose the blood in the lung capillaries to air in order to absorb oxygen into the blood and to release carbon dioxide, a waste product, into the air.
The exercise below will help in practicing how to breath using diaphragmatic breathing, which is the most efficient way of getting the more oxygen into the blood using less energy. If practiced daily, it will become natural and helps reduce daily stress.
- Sit upright in a chair with both feet on the floor.
- Place hands palm side down on legs
- Take three deep breaths with mouth slightly open and relax - feeling the stress exit your body as you breathe out.
- Inhale completely through nostrils with mouth closed pushing out lower abdomen/stomach area as the air moves in. (contraction of diaphragm).
- Exhale completely through nostrils forcing the air out and sucking abdomen in under ribs and relaxing the diaphragm.
- Do this Procedure in a series of 7 breaths. Rest for 2 minutes, then repeat the process two more times.
Combine the above practice with a cup of DHB Sleep tea in the evening for a relaxing, stress reducing ritual!