Under-slept, overworked and feeling the pressure?
For many of us, a stressful day usually comes down to an evening spent zoning out in front of the TV set. Unfortunately, this does little to mitigate the dangerous effects of stress. “Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders,” says Andrew Weil, the American celebrity doctor often pronounced as the guru of alternative medical brands.
To effectively combat stress, all you need is to activate your body’s natural relaxation response. Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga or rhythmic breathing are useful in boosting your energy, keeping your nervous system in balance and reducing everyday stress. Keep calm and try controlled breathing! It helps the mind and body to function at the optimum level whilst lowering blood pressure and at the same time allowing you to de-stress.
Relaxation helps by:
• Slowing your heart rate
• Increasing blood flow to major muscles
• Improves mood
• Reducing anxiety level
• Improving sleep and lowering fatigue
• Boosting self-confidence
• Improving personal relationships
Here is a shockingly simple, time efficient technique that you can do anywhere. Placing the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth through the exercise, breathe out making a “whoosh” sound. Close your mouth now and breathe in. Count till five and hold your breath. Exhale in the same manner as before. Continue until you are done counting to nine. Now breathe in and repeat the whole process at least four times.
Abdominal Breathing Technique
Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Take a deep breath ensuring the diaphragm inflates enough causing your lungs to expand. Practice deep breathing for at least eight to ten times for 15 minutes. This is an essentially beneficial for your heart rate and blood pressure. Perform this on a daily basis for at least seven weeks especially before the start of a stressful day.
Starting with your toes, focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle separately. Maintain deep, slow breathing while you perform this exercise. Relax each muscle group for at least five seconds while breathing in. Exhale through your mouth as you release tension.
Skull Shining Breath
Start by taking a long, deep breath. Breathe the air out contracting your lower belly. Repeat this inhale-exhale procedure stepping up the pace by one to two seconds. ‘If alternate nostril breathing is like coffee, consider this a shot of espresso,’ says Andrew Weil. It is often a good way to revitalize your brain functions and shakes off some stale energy.
Breathe deeply while reinforcing positive thoughts and images in your head. According to psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer, “Guided visualization helps puts you in the place you want to be, rather than letting your mind go to the internal dialogue that is stressful.” This can be performed anywhere, though preferably in a space where there is adequate lighting to avoid any negative feelings.