Releasing the stress through deep breathing.
We are all aware of the maxim, “Take a deep breath!” and the wisdom is tried and true. In the heat of the moment, a deep breath will resonate with relaxing effects for your brain. So why stop at just one? Deep breathing is a legitimate tactic for beating back a pang of stress; but do we even remember how to take a deep breath?
Stress makes our breathing pattern shallow, and we seek to reverse this with deep breathing.
Notice that when you are stressed you often breathe quicker, with your chest expanding. In this type, known as thoracic breathing, you are drawing air into your chest using accessory muscles rather than into the lungs using your diaphragm. A deep breath is easy:
- Contracting the diaphragm, take in air through the nose
- Feel your lungs fill fully with oxygen, reaching the bottom where blood is circulating
- Hold in for a few seconds to let the oxygen saturate your cells.
- Breathe out fully- not exhaling fully is what causes breathlessness.
The benefits of a deep breath when fighting stress:
Blood circulates better which means that…
…the cells of your brain and body receive steadily refreshing supply of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood
Blood pressure lowers
These benefits translate to a sharper mind and less tension in the body.
Balanced breathing fights stress further
If you truly need a refresh, try balanced breathing: inhale and hold four seconds, then exhale for four seconds. Combined with the health benefits above, the rhythm of deep breathing will help you feel much more relaxed.
Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C.