Focused, abdominal breathing (belly breathing) 20 to 30 minutes each day is a great way to achieve a natural relaxation response.
The point of focused breathing is to feel connected to your body, and be present and aware of the feeling of your worries drifting farther and farther away.
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Try this breathing technique first thing in the morning. It can help minimize muscle tension throughout the entire day.
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 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.
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.