Relax by Doing Some Deep Breathing
You'd think deep breathing would be something we all do, wouldn't you? But did you know that most of us only fill about half of our lungs when we inhale? And if we're stressed, it can be even less!
So here's how to begin deep breathing:
So to begin with, try inhaling fully. Let your ribcage lift out of your waist and make room for your lungs to totally fill with air.
Sometimes it's helpful to stand up at first with your arms at your sides, and then lift them up over your head as if you're trying to touch the ceiling. This movement naturally lifts your ribcage allowing your lungs to inflate fully.
Once you know how that feels, sit down on a chair or bench where you can maintain an erect posture. Kitchen chairs are usually good for this.
Have your feet flat on the floor and your arms comfortably at your side or in your lap.
Now focus your attention on your breath. Bring your breath in through your nose, down your throat, and into your lungs. Allow your abdominal muscles to really relax when you do this so your diaphragm can draw the air all the way into the lower lobes of your lungs.
Singers and athletes are well acquainted with using their diaphragms, but many of us (especially women) have spent years holding in our stomachs, and it can feel really strange to try to let those muscles relax.
It's worth the effort!
Once you get settled, begin counting silently to yourself how many seconds you inhale, followed by how many seconds you exhale. Strive for a slow and steady rhythm.
If you inhale to the count of 3, for example, try to increase to the count of 4, or even 5 or 6. Then let your exhale also be steady (as opposed to a "whoosh!") and take the same length of time, or 1-2 counts longer.
You'll find that in the beginning, your breath is usually faster and you'll have an urgent need to inhale; but after a few minutes, your breathing is deeper and slower, and you can rest comfortably at the bottom of your exhale for a moment.
Notice how that feels.
And then notice your level of stress or anxiety. What has happened to it after doing this deep breathing exercise?
Easy, huh? And zero calories or bad side effects!! Ya gotta love that!
Brought to you by:
A Better Day Counseling Services & Paula Sharp, LCSW
Serving Boise, Eagle, Meridian and Treasure Valley, Idaho
Located at: 1414 W. Franklin St., Boise, ID 83702
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