Belly Breathing for Stress Reduction

Chronic stress keeps one in perpetual fight/flight mode. The heartbeat gets raised, muscles tightened, and the brains continuously scanning for any threats. One simply cannot relax. Our body cannot differentiate between a physical injury and a mental trauma caused by some catastrophe. One cannot properly eat, sleep cycle is severely affected. Being in constant chronic stress for long time will eventually alter ones whole personality. Once a jovial, carefree person will be transformed to irascible, fastidious, grumpy person. Sure there are techniques and strategies to follow like being physically active, outgoing, involving in mentally challenging tasks, etc to keep stress at a bay. But for most women, a sudden transition to an outgoing physically active lifestyle may prove to be a challenge. For such indoor people, an easy technique that really works to reduce the stress is belly breathing.
Belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is one simple breathing technique where we use our diaphragm to breath rather than using our chest muscles. Most of us do breath with the chest rather than with the diaphragm. In fact, that is more than sufficient for the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange happening in the lungs. The issue with the shallow breathing is that approximately 2/3rd of our lungs are being used. Or in other words, there is still some stale air in the lungs, that is not exhaled out by the normal shallow breathing process. The presence of this stale air in the lungs exacerbates the anxiety/stress. The solution is to get the stale air out by deep belly breathing using the diaphragm.

To do belly breathing, first lie down. Keep a hand over the belly. Then slowly breath using your belly only. While inhaling the chest should be still and the belly must go up. While exhaling the belly must go down. Envision that the diaphragm that sits below your rib cage is doing the breathing. Do the inhalation slowly and fully. After doing this for some 15–20 times, you will feel that you can inhale very deeply and get the sensation that the lungs is fully filled. It is actually the diaphragm muscle working, and pushing the lungs up. At some point in breathing you yawn. Yawning will give you the feeling of a full lungs. Notice, in this process, how calm you have become. Your breathing rate goes down. Your stress magically disappears. You feel relaxed. Do it early in the morning and evening once. Repeat it for a month and see how much improvement you have made.

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Punnoose A K

Having faced many failures in life, I prefer writing about failing(literally) to the point, with no pretensions. | voracious reader. | I run www.flarespeech.com