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Calm for the holidays - Harvard Health Blog

Deep Breathing

When your emotions run high, breathing speeds up, too. Slowing your breathing down relaxes tense muscles, bringing shoulders down from ears, calms roiling emotions, and helps disarm the hormonal cascade within the body that feeds anxiety.

Just five minutes of deep breathing can calm you effectively.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Calm for the holidays - Harvard Health Blog

Calm for the holidays - Harvard Health Blog

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/calm-for-the-holidays-2018121015513

health.harvard.edu

4

Key Ideas

Calm for the Holidays

A few quick ways to take holiday stress down, relax and invoke your calmer self:

  • Breathe deeply.
  • Exercise.
  • Diffuse charged conversations.

Move your body

Moving to do just about any exercise boosts your mood and manages your anxiety.

Just going for a walk can balance your emotions and provide positivity.

Diffuse Charged Conversations

Many relatives would tread into topics that are going to raise your blood pressure. Diffuse inflaming conversations and remain your calm self.

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Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”

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 c...

Abdominal Breathing Technique
How it’s done: With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: 6 to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure.

When it works best: Before an exam, or any stressful event.

Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril Breathing”

How it’s done: Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb and exhaling through the left nostril.

When it works best: Crunch time, or whenever it’s time to focus or energize.

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

A health condition that affects an individual’s ability to breathe well, often associated with other conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Symptoms include: wheezing, c...

Pursed lip breathing
  1. While keeping your mouth closed, take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to 2. The breath does not have to be deep. 
  2. Put your lips together as if you are starting to whistle or blow out candles on a birthday cake. This is known as “pursing” your lips.
  3. While continuing to keep your lips pursed, slowly breathe out by counting to 4. Don’t try to force the air out, but instead breathe out slowly through your mouth.
Pursed lip breathing benefits:
  • It’s been shown to reduce how hard a person has to work to breathe.
  • It helps release air trapped in the lungs.
  • It promotes relaxation.
  • It reduces shortness of breath.

Practice it 4 to 5 times per day, daily.

Pursed lip breathing is best for performing strenuous activities, such as climbing stairs.

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Breathing Techniques for Muscle Tension Relief
Breathing Techniques for Muscle Tension Relief
  1. Stand up straight and bend forward at the waist. Bend knees slightly, letting your arms hang limply, close to the floor.
  2. Inhale slowly and deeply, and return to a stan...
Breathing Techniques for Side Pain

Practicing deep “belly breathing” can reduce the stress on the supporting ligaments of the diaphragm and can help relieve side stitches. 

Belly breath: Lie down on the floor and place a hand on your belly. Breathe deeply. If you feel your hand rise and fall slightly with your breathing, you’re belly breathing. If your chest is moving instead of your stomach, you’re not breathing deeply enough, and need to adjust.  

Breathing Techniques for Increased Energy
  1. Sit up tall, and relax your shoulders. 
  2. Keep your mouth closed and inhale rapidly through your nose with quick, short breaths (exhale quickly as well). 
  3. Try doing that for about 10 seconds
  4. Take a 15-30 second break and breathe normally. Repeat several times.

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