Take a Deep Breath

Breathing is one of the body’s most basic functions, but it doubles as a powerful relaxation tool with real health benefits.

In times of stress, your internal “fight or flight” response gets triggered. Your heart races. Muscles grow tense. Your breath gets shallow. This prepares you to face challenges in the moment, but ongoing stress – whether from real threats or overreaction to average events – wears down the immune system and increases blood pressure. Deep breathing limits stress-related wear by actively slowing your heart rate, stabilizing blood pressure and promoting relaxation. Focused breathing that fully engages the diaphragm, the muscle between the chest and abdomen, also improves blood flow and encourages the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.

To benefit, consider scheduling deep breathing exercises into your day (see instructions below). No time for meditation? Use a ringing phone or a red light as a reminder to take a few slow deep breaths. Though a daily 10- to 20-minute deep breathing routine is ideal, even a few short sessions will relieve tension.

try this basic belly breathing exercise :

1. Sit comfortably, ideally in a quiet space.
2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, just below your ribs.
3. Inhale deeply through your nose. Your belly should fill out; your chest shouldn’t move.
4. Exhale through pursed lips. Notice your stomach pulling back in.
5. Repeat 3 to 10 times.

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