2 Quick Breathing Exercises to Help You Relax
There are countless products and medications that promise stress relief. However, if you're having trouble relaxing and you don't have access to store-bought remedies, there's another solution: Your breath. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, practicing deep breathing may be an effective way to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and get a better night's sleep. So, reserve a few minutes, find a dark room and try these breathing exercises the next time you want to unwind.
1. Beginner's Breathing
There's nothing as refreshing as one deep breath of air when you're trying to center yourself. This breathing exercise is simple and effective, and can be done wherever you are. Sit straight up with your palms facing toward the ceiling to welcome in the energy of the room. With your mouth closed, breathe in deeply through your nose and let your chest slowly fill up with air. Then, forcefully exhale either through your nose or mouth until your chest empties. This single deep breath should be used to reboot your mind and body. Imagine all of the day's stress leaving your body as your breath pushes out of your nose or mouth. Repeat several times, alternating between these deep breaths and regular, shallow breathing.
2. Equal Breathing
Try equal breathing when you want to slow your nervous system after an especially fast-paced day. This exercise involves counting the duration of each breath as a way to increase focus and reduce stress. The act of counting forces you to clear your thoughts and concentrate on maintaining a rhythm. Start by slowly breathing in through your nose for a count of four, then exhaling - also through your nose - for another count of four. If desired, try increasing the count to five or six. Continue on until you feel yourself let go of your tension.