Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Abdominal Breathing

Breathing is the basis for many different stress reduction techniques — as long as you take the correct approach. The best way to use your breath for relaxation is to breathe from your abdomen. A lot of people, however, take shallow breaths from their chest, especially when they’re under stress. This can make you feel short of breath and even more anxious.

Deep abdominal breathing, on the other hand, can help slow down the heart rate and stabilize blood pressure. But it does take practice. When you inhale deeply, the air should fully fill your lungs, and the lower belly rise.

To make sure you’re breathing from your belly, lie down and place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Inhale and notice if the hand on your chest or stomach rises. Inhale again, this time trying to push up the hand on your stomach. Let out a slow breath and feel your abdomen move down again. Repeat this a few times and compare how you feel now with how you felt before this exercise. Once you get the hang of it, you can do this relaxation method any time you feel stress taking over.

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