“While we breathe, we will hope.”
– Barack Obama
Following on from my first post; I thought it would be great to highlight breathing techniques in order to relax.
All you need is your lungs and a few moments to focus on your chosen technique. You do not have to be in a relaxing environment. For in a way, it is good to test your superpowers to relax; anywhere in this sometime restless world.
Try these techniques anywhere to see how they work for you:
1. Diaphragmatic breathing. Also known as abdominal or belly breathing.
This is one of the most beneficial breathing techniques. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure; as well as increasing strength in your diaphragm and stamina for exercise. Importantly, it can reduce symptoms of many stress and anxiety disorders.
How to breathe to do diaphragmatic breathing:
– Try to sit or lay down and loosen tight clothes.
– Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
– Breathe in through your nose whilst feeling your stomach expand; as your chest stays still.
– Purse your lips, whilst gently pressing on your stomach. Now exhale slowly through the mouth.
– Repeat several times for best effect.
Breathing is part of your automatic nervous system; which controls several functions such as blood pressure without you needing to think about it. The ‘fight or flight’ response is also controlled by this nervous system; so by breathing deeply you can easily deal with issues and then return to a relaxed state.
2. Breathe Focus Technique
This involves using a keyword of your choosing; whilst you focus on your breathing to help you relax.
– Sit or lie down in a comfortable place.
– Without changing your breathing become aware of your breath both in and out. Now alternate between normal and deeper breathing and notice how this affects you. Then begin deep diaphragmatic breathing.
– Place a hand on your belly button and notice how it rises and falls with each breath. With every exhale; let out a sigh.
– Now combine your deep breathing with imagery and keywords that will help you relax.
– Imagine each new breath in brings more calm and happy thoughts. Your world and your body is becoming more and more relaxed.
– Then each time you exhale; imagine: all your strains and stresses are leaving your body.
Try to do this for at least twenty minutes if you can keep track of time!
3. Alternate nostril breathing
This technique is for relaxation; yet it has been known to enhance cardiovascular function and lower heart rate.
Obviously, you will need the use of both nostrils; so avoid if you are congested or ill. Also it is best practised on a empty stomach.
– Sit or lie down.
– Raise your hand to your face and after exhaling place your thumb over your right nostril.
– After you have breathed in through your left nostril; close your left nostril with your forefinger and breathe out through your right nostril.
– Continue doing this for at least five minutes.
4. Equal Breathing
This means making the length of each inhale and exhale of breath the same length. This will help make your breathing smoother and hopefully make you more balanced and relaxed.
– Find a comfortable seat; and begin by gently breathing in and out through your nostrils.
– When you have relaxed and began focusing on your breathing; make each inhale and exhale the same length by counting in your head. Count to what ever number is comfortable for you.
– If you prefer, you can pause between each inhale and exhale.
So there are a few techniques, I have learned myself; which I try to include in my daily routine. Read up on the subject yourself; try what suits you. Enjoy relaxation techniques and do not worry too much about following techniques too closely.
The most important thing is to relax.
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