Controlled breathing techniques can get one autonomic system under control and in turn affect others (like the heartbeat), alleviate momentary anxiety and longer-term emotional stress, and perhaps even improve physical and cognitive health outcomes.
MORE IDEAS FROM The Profound Power of Breathing
It involves filling the lungs to the max and goes by various names like belly or diaphragmatic breathing.
It has been linked to improved cognitive performance, lower stress levels, and lower blood pressure.
Breathing is at the core of ancient (and currently trendy) mindfulness practices, from yoga and tai chi to meditation.
However, studies suggest that breathing exercises alone, derived from those ancient yoga practices, can be good for the body and mind.
Every relaxation, calming, or meditation technique relies on breathing, which may be the lowest common denominator in all the approaches to calming the body and mind.
Central to ancient Hindu philosophy was prana, described as vital “airs” or “energies” flowing through the body. Stemming from that belief, yoga was built on pranayama or breath retention.
Normal human breathing at rest should raise the belly, not the chest.
To relax during a particularly stressful moment, take three slow, deep belly breaths to interrupt the fight-or-flight response.
How it’s done: Inhale for a count of 4, then exhale for a count of 4, all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath. Once you manage it, you can go up to a count of 6.
It calm the nervous system, increase focus and reduce stress.
When it works best: Anytime, anyplace — but this is one technique that’s especially effective before bed.
Try this breathing technique first thing in the morning. It can help minimize muscle tension throughout the entire day.
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