Relaxation Breathing
Stress Anxiety Management

Mind Over Matter

One of the quickest and easiest ways to relieve stress,  high blood pressure, rapid pulse, and other physical effects of stress, is to stop what you're doing and breathe. Not just breathe, but B R E A T H E . Close your eyes, concentrate on what you're doing, and deliberately attempt to slow your heart rate and breathing.

Relaxation breathing is a stress reducer that can be done just about any time, any where. It will only take about 2 minutes, but can have a profound effect on your body and mind the better you get at it. The more you do it, the quicker your body will respond to it. Like training for anything, it's going to take some practice, so don't just try it once or twice and decide that "it doesn't work".

The Technique for Relaxation Breathing

  • Close your eyes.
  • Focus your attention on your breathing, so that you will stop thinking about whatever else is going on that is causing your heart rate to rise and tension to build in your body. The goal is to be able to slow down your breathing, which will in turn slow your heart rate, making you feel less jumpy and tense.
  • Take a long, deep breath in thru your nose. This first time you may find it hard to breathe in very slowly or deeply, because you're just too wound up. Try to pause for a second before exhaling.
  • Try to control the release of your breath, out thru your mouth. Again, this first breath may be very hard to control because of your stress level. You may not be able to let it out slowly yet, but try.
  • The second breath may also be difficult to control, but continue to think about slowing your breathing. Try to make your inhale last to the count of 6. Try to hold for a count of 3 before exhaling, again to a count of 6 (or more).
  • At this point, you probably aren't feeling much different, and you are tempted to open your eyes and decide that that didn't work very well. Don't stop yet. The third time will be noticably easier, and by the 4th time, you will notice a "release" of sorts, kind of like your body has quit fighting you, and is ready to drop into the rhythm you are trying to implement.
  • Do this for AT LEAST 6 breaths, at which point you will be able to decide whether a couple more would be even more beneficial, or if you have calmed yourself sufficiently.

In the beginning, it may be necessary to spend a little more time on this (and I mean like maybe a whole whopping *4* minutes, instead of 2…), but as you become familiar with the relaxation breathing technique and your body becomes trained to slow down to this cue, your time will decrease.

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