Stress affects us in our everyday lives. Whether it be direct or indirect, we all experience it. There are many negative effects of stress if the stress is not relieved.
Stress leads to narrowing of our blood vessels, high blood pressure, decreased food digestion, high blood sugar, increased cortisol, and weight gain.
There are many great ways to relieve stress. Taking time out of your day to work on a hobby, visiting a friend, taking a walk, yoga and deep breathing exercises.
Deep breathing exercises are a technique that everyone can take part in. I will discuss three various deep breathing exercises which you can practice at home to help relieve stress.
The first exercise is called belly breathing. For belly breathing, you sit or lie in a comfortable position, place your hand over your chest, the other and on your abdomen (directly below our ribs). You take a deep breath in (through your nose), pushing out your belly and keeping your chest from expanding. You should repeat this exercise 4 to 6 times.
The second breathing technique is called 4-7-8 breathing. For this breathing technique, you once again find a comfortable sitting or lying position. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, under your ribs. take a deep breath in through your nose (count silently to 4). Hold the breath for 7 seconds, exhale using pursed lip method for 8 seconds. Repeat this exercise 4-6 times.
The third and last breathing technique I am going to discuss today is known as progressive relaxation. For this exercise, you sit or lay in a comfortable position, close your eyes, tense and relax each muscle group in your body (one at a time) while breathing slowly in through your nose (for a 4 second count) and exhale through your mouth (using a pursed lip breathing method) for a 4 second count. You can repeat this exercise if you still don’t feel a release in tension and stress.