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Home > Health & Fitness > Healthwise > Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation
Have you ever noticed how you breathe
when you feel relaxed? The next time you are relaxed, take a moment to notice
how your body feels. Or think about how you breathe when you first wake up in
the morning or just before you fall asleep. Breathing exercises can help you
relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in
the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your
brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body.
Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate,
fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to
There are lots of
breathing exercises you can do to help relax. The first exercise below—belly
breathing—is simple to learn and easy to do. It's best to start there if you
have never done breathing exercises before. The other exercises are more
advanced. All of these exercises can help you relax and relieve stress.
Belly breathing is
easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax
or relieve stress.
have mastered belly breathing, you may want to try one of these more advanced
breathing exercises. Try all three, and see which one works best for
exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise
either sitting or lying down.
Roll breathing helps you to develop full use of your lungs
and to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. You can do it in any position.
But while you are learning, it is best to lie on your back with your knees
Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks until you
can do it almost anywhere. You can use it as an instant relaxation tool anytime
you need one.
Caution: Some people get
dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to
breathe too fast or feel lightheaded, slow your
breathing. Get up slowly.
Try this exercise when you first get up in the morning to
relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it
throughout the day to relieve back tension.
May 15, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & Steven Locke, MD - Psychiatry
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