Combat stress with this cheap, easy and effective technique. You can do it anywhere, any time, and you can even teach it to your kids or grandkids. It’s deep breathing.
The deep kind of breathing from your diaphragm –the kind that makes your abdomen move, not your chest. But we really shouldn’t be surprised because Moms have been saying this for years!
“Just calm down, now take a couple of deep breaths. You’ll feel better”.
Mom always knew what was best for us!
Take a moment right now to actually pay attention to your breathing. Did you notice, like I did, that your breathing is shallow? My chest moves more than my abdomen when I take in a breath. There is not a lot of deep breathing from my diaphragm happening.
Deep breathing from the diaphragm helps us cope with stress.
According to the American Institute of Stress, deep breathing has these effects on your body;
“ 1. Your metabolism decreases
- Your heart beats slower and your muscles relax
- Your breathing becomes slower
- Your blood pressure decreases” Stress and breathing
I did some more research and I read a review of a variety of studies, which investigated the effectiveness of deep breathing for reducing physiological and psychological stress. The evidence from these studies suggested that diaphragmatic breathing does decrease stress. Effectiveness of diaphragmatic breathing
Is there a specific technique recommended?
Dr. Andrew Weil, a doctor, practitioner, and teacher of integrative medicine teaches the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
Here’s how to do it
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth
- Empty the air from your lungs
- Breath in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds. Your abdomen should move, not your chest
- Hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds
- Exhale forcefully through your mouth, pursing your lips for a count of 8 seconds
- Repeat the cycle up to 4 times
You may feel lightheaded the first few times so it’s a good idea to do this when seated or holding onto something.
If you can’t hold your breath for that long, then reduce the count.
Breath in for 2 seconds, hold for 3.5 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds.
The counting idea is ok but I thought it would be cool to combine the deep breathing with a positive statement.
I am going to replace the counting with the same number of short words.
Breath in – God’s on His throne.
Hold the breath – He loves me, I can trust Him.
Exhale the breath – Thank you God for taking care of everything!
(When I add a smile, I feel my stress level get even lower)
Come up with your own healthy statement. Or you could use a Bible verse.
Let’s habit stack. That’s when we attach this new habit to a well-established habit.
I think I will habit stack this with looking in the mirror in the washroom.
When I am washing my hands I will do the deep breathing exercise.
I think I will even print out my healthy statement and stick it to the mirror.
Today’s little step: Start some deep breathing. It’s a great technique to reduce stress and it is cheap, easy and effective!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Little Steps to Health