Relax and Breathe

Relax and Breath

Have you ever just felt that the weight of the world is on your shoulders, stress is eating you up, and there just doesn’t seem to be a way to relax? “Take a deep breath and relax.” We have all heard this before but it is very true and important to remember in the midst of our everyday lives. Studies have shown that breathing exercises not only reduce stress but relieve tension, burnout, headache, chronic fatigue, sleeping problems, concentration problems, anxiety and phobia, panic disorder, and depression. Elizabeth Scott (2016) says that the benefits of using breathing exercises to treat these conditions is:

  1. They work quickly.
  2. You can do them anywhere.
  3. They take very little practice to master.
  4. They’re FREE!!
  5. You can use them in a stressful situation to stay calm.
  6. They can effectively reverse your stress response, helping you avoid the negative effects of chronic stress.

Breathing Exercises

Yoga is known as the top stress reliever exercise that incorporates deep breathing exercises. The best part about breathing exercises is that it can be done anywhere. They can be done at your desk, on the floor, in your bedroom, outside in the grass, or in your car before going into work or school. Deep breathing requires you to inhale slowly bringing the air through the nose and pushing down the diaphragm as much as you can to fill the lungs, and releasing through the mouth. Mindy Caplan (2014) suggests to:

  • Find a comfortable place to sit
  • Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths
  • When inhaling, expand the diaphragm, and then exhale completely
  • “Talk” to the muscles in your body and tell them to relax and melt
  • Softening the jaw releases tension in the neck, shoulders and hips, and leads to total body relaxation

Resources:

Caplan, M. (2014, May 14). Learn how to relax with exercise. Retrieved from:             https://certification.acsm.org/blog/2014/may/learn-how-to-relax-with-exercise

Scott, E. (2016, July 6). Breathing exercises for stress relief breathing exercises are popular for a   reason. Retrieved from: https://www.verywell.com/breathing-exercises-for-stress-relief-     3145183

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Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Health Studies department