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Breathing

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Quick tips on breathing techniques to relieve stress ( click title to expand/collapse):
Calming Breath
  1. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.
  2. Hold your breath to the count of "three."
  3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.                                             

Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

Info Provider: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255

Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel relaxed? The next time you are relaxed, take a moment to notice how your body feels. Or think about how you breathe when you first wake up in the morning or just before you fall asleep. Breathing exercises can help you relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed.

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.

  • The way you breathe affects your whole body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.
  • Breathing exercises are easy to learn. You can do them whenever you want, and you don't need any special tools or equipment to do them.
  • You can do different exercises to see which work best for you.

How do you do breathing exercises?

There are lots of breathing exercises you can do to help relax. The first exercise below-belly breathing-is simple to learn and easy to do. It's best to start there if you have never done breathing exercises before. The other exercises are more advanced. All of these exercises can help you relax and relieve stress.

Belly breathing

Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.

  1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
  2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
  4. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
  5. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Next steps

After you have mastered belly breathing, you may want to try one of these more advanced breathing exercises. Try all three, and see which one works best for you:

  • 4-7-8 breathing
  • Roll breathing
  • Morning breathing

4-7-8 breathing

This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.

  1. To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise.
  2. Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.
  3. Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.
  4. Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.
  5. Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Roll breathing

Roll breathing helps you to develop full use of your lungs and to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. You can do it in any position. But while you are learning, it is best to lie on your back with your knees bent.

  1. Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you breathe in and out.
  2. Practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your "belly" (left) hand goes up when you inhale and your "chest" (right) hand remains still. Always breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do this 8 to 10 times.
  3. When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs 8 to 10 times, add the second step to your breathing: inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest. Breathe slowly and regularly. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your belly falls.
  4. As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing sound as first your left hand and then your right hand fall. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.
  5. Practice breathing in and out in this way for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the movement of your belly and chest rises and falls like the motion of rolling waves.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere. You can use it as an instant relaxation tool anytime you need one.

Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to breathe too fast or feel lightheaded, slow your breathing. Get up slowly.

Morning breathing

Try this exercise when you first get up in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it throughout the day to relieve back tension.

  1. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.
  2. As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last.
  3. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.
  4. Exhale slowly as you return to the original position, bending forward from the waist.
  5. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Info Provider:  https://greatist.com/happiness/breathing-exercises-relaxOver-worked, under-slept, and feeling pressure like whoa? There are plenty of ways to find calm—without investing in a 90-minute massage. Turns out all you need is a pair of healthy lungs, your breath, and 10 minutes or less. Here are six expert-approved ways to relax using breathing techniques borrowed from yoga, meditation, and even the therapist’s chair.

The Need-to-Know

Don’t wait until fight-or-flight kicks in before minding the breath. Controlled breathing not only keeps your mind and body functioning at their best, it can also lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and help you de-stress. While the effects of breathing techniques on anxiety haven’t been studied at length (at least in a controlled clinical setting), many experts encourage using the breath as a means of increasing awareness, mindfulness, or—for the yogis among us—finding that elusive state of Zen. To get to the bottom of the breath work, Greatist spoke to breathing expert Dr. Alison McConnell, yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco, and psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer. But follow closely: Easy breathing isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.

Your Action Plan

From the confines of a bed, a desk, or anywhere negativity finds its way, consider these six techniques to help keep calm and carry on.

1. Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”

6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less

How it’s done: Balance can do a body good, beginning with the breath. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four (all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath). Got the basic pranayama down? More advanced yogis can aim for six to eight counts per breath with the same goal in mind: Calm the nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress, Pacheco says.

When it works best: Anytime, anyplace—but this is one technique that’s especially effective before bed. “Similar to counting sheep, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, this breath can help take your mind off the racing thoughts, or whatever might be distracting you," Pacheco says.

Level of difficulty: Beginner

2. Abdominal Breathing Technique

How it’s done: With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: Six to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure, McConnell says. Keep at it for six to eight weeks, and those benefits might stick around even longer.

When it works best: Before an exam or any stressful event. But keep in mind, “Those who operate in a stressed state all the time might be a little shocked how hard it is to control the breath,” Pacheco says. To help train the breath, consider biofeedback tools such as McConnell’s Breathe Strong app, which can help users pace their breathing wherever they are.

Level of difficulty: Beginner

3. Progressive Relaxation

How it’s done: To nix tension from head to toe, close the eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two to three seconds each. Start with the feet and toes, then move up to the knees, thighs, glutes, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw, and eyes—all while maintaining deep, slow breaths. Having trouble staying on track? Anxiety and panic specialist Dr. Patricia Farrell suggests we breathe in through the nose, hold for a count of five while the muscles tense, then breathe out through the mouth on release.

When it works best: At home, at a desk, or even on the road. One word of caution: Dizziness is never the goal. If holding the breath ever feels uncomfortable, tone it down to just a few seconds.

Level of difficulty: Beginner

4. Nadi Shodhana or "Alternate Nostril Breathing"

6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less

How it’s done: A yogi’s best friend, this breath is said to bring calm, balance, and unite the right and left sides of the brain. Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb, and exhaling through the left nostril.

When it works best: Crunch time, or whenever it’s time to focus or energize. Just don’t try this one before bed: Nadi shodhana is said to “clear the channels” and make people feel more awake. “It’s almost like a cup of coffee,” Pacheco says.

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

5. Guided Visualization

How it’s done: Head straight for your happy place, no questions asked. With a coach, therapist, or helpful recording as your guide, breathe deeply while focusing on pleasant, positive images to replace any negative thoughts. Psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer explains that while it’s just one means of achieving mindfulness, “Guided visualization helps puts you in the place you want to be, rather than letting your mind go to the internal dialogue that is stressful.”

When it works best: Pretty much any place you can safely close your eyes and let go (e.g. not at the wheel of a car).

Level of difficulty: Intermediate.

6. Kapalabhati or "Skull Shining Breath"

How it’s done: Ready to brighten up your day from the inside out? This one begins with a long, slow inhale, followed by a quick, powerful exhale generated from the lower belly. Once comfortable with the contraction, up the pace to one inhale-exhale (all through the nose) every one to two seconds, for a total of 10 breaths.

When it works best: When it’s time to wake up or start looking on the bright side. “It’s pretty abdominal-intensive,” Pacheco says, “but it will warm up the body, shake off stale energy, and wake up the brain.” If alternate nostril breathing is like coffee, consider this a shot of espresso, she says.

Level of difficulty: Advanced

While stress, frustration, and other daily setbacks will always be there, the good news is, so will our breath.

Originally published July 2014. Updated September 2015.

Info Provider:
https://www.anxieties.com/57/panic-step4
 
Calming Breath. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs. Hold your breath to the count of "three." Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/relaxation-techniques-for-stress-relief.htm

    Deep breathing. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/.../relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-er...
    Apr 13, 2018 - Relaxation techniques such as breath control via deep breathing ... One way is to invoke the relaxation response, through a technique first ...
    healthland.time.com/2012/10/08/6-breathing-exercises-to-relax-in-10-minutes-or-less/
      Oct 8, 2012 - Don't wait until fight or flight kicks in before minding your breath. Controlled breathing not only keeps the mind and body functioning at their best ...
      https://draxe.com/breathing-exercises/
        Mar 31, 2017 - Not all breathing exercises are the same, but I especially love the ones that help the body relax and quiet a busy mind. The cool thing is that ...
        https://blog.bulletproof.com/deep-breathing-exercises/
        Dec 20, 2017 - Here are three do-anywhere, easy deep breathing exercises to help bring your stress response down a few notches so you can relax.
        Calming Breath
        1. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.
        2. Hold your breath to the count of "three."
        3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.                                             

        Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

        Info Provider: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255

        Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel relaxed? The next time you are relaxed, take a moment to notice how your body feels. Or think about how you breathe when you first wake up in the morning or just before you fall asleep. Breathing exercises can help you relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed.

        Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.

        • The way you breathe affects your whole body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.
        • Breathing exercises are easy to learn. You can do them whenever you want, and you don't need any special tools or equipment to do them.
        • You can do different exercises to see which work best for you.

        How do you do breathing exercises?

        There are lots of breathing exercises you can do to help relax. The first exercise below-belly breathing-is simple to learn and easy to do. It's best to start there if you have never done breathing exercises before. The other exercises are more advanced. All of these exercises can help you relax and relieve stress.

        Belly breathing

        Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.

        1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
        2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
        3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
        4. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
        5. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
        6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

        Next steps

        After you have mastered belly breathing, you may want to try one of these more advanced breathing exercises. Try all three, and see which one works best for you:

        • 4-7-8 breathing
        • Roll breathing
        • Morning breathing

        4-7-8 breathing

        This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.

        1. To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise.
        2. Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.
        3. Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.
        4. Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.
        5. Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.
        6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

        Roll breathing

        Roll breathing helps you to develop full use of your lungs and to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. You can do it in any position. But while you are learning, it is best to lie on your back with your knees bent.

        1. Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you breathe in and out.
        2. Practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your "belly" (left) hand goes up when you inhale and your "chest" (right) hand remains still. Always breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do this 8 to 10 times.
        3. When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs 8 to 10 times, add the second step to your breathing: inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest. Breathe slowly and regularly. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your belly falls.
        4. As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing sound as first your left hand and then your right hand fall. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.
        5. Practice breathing in and out in this way for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the movement of your belly and chest rises and falls like the motion of rolling waves.
        6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

        Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere. You can use it as an instant relaxation tool anytime you need one.

        Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to breathe too fast or feel lightheaded, slow your breathing. Get up slowly.

        Morning breathing

        Try this exercise when you first get up in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it throughout the day to relieve back tension.

        1. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.
        2. As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last.
        3. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.
        4. Exhale slowly as you return to the original position, bending forward from the waist.
        5. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

        Info Provider:  https://greatist.com/happiness/breathing-exercises-relaxOver-worked, under-slept, and feeling pressure like whoa? There are plenty of ways to find calm—without investing in a 90-minute massage. Turns out all you need is a pair of healthy lungs, your breath, and 10 minutes or less. Here are six expert-approved ways to relax using breathing techniques borrowed from yoga, meditation, and even the therapist’s chair.

        The Need-to-Know

        Don’t wait until fight-or-flight kicks in before minding the breath. Controlled breathing not only keeps your mind and body functioning at their best, it can also lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and help you de-stress. While the effects of breathing techniques on anxiety haven’t been studied at length (at least in a controlled clinical setting), many experts encourage using the breath as a means of increasing awareness, mindfulness, or—for the yogis among us—finding that elusive state of Zen. To get to the bottom of the breath work, Greatist spoke to breathing expert Dr. Alison McConnell, yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco, and psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer. But follow closely: Easy breathing isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.

        Your Action Plan

        From the confines of a bed, a desk, or anywhere negativity finds its way, consider these six techniques to help keep calm and carry on.

        1. Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”

        6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less

        How it’s done: Balance can do a body good, beginning with the breath. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four (all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath). Got the basic pranayama down? More advanced yogis can aim for six to eight counts per breath with the same goal in mind: Calm the nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress, Pacheco says.

        When it works best: Anytime, anyplace—but this is one technique that’s especially effective before bed. “Similar to counting sheep, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, this breath can help take your mind off the racing thoughts, or whatever might be distracting you," Pacheco says.

        Level of difficulty: Beginner

        2. Abdominal Breathing Technique

        How it’s done: With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: Six to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure, McConnell says. Keep at it for six to eight weeks, and those benefits might stick around even longer.

        When it works best: Before an exam or any stressful event. But keep in mind, “Those who operate in a stressed state all the time might be a little shocked how hard it is to control the breath,” Pacheco says. To help train the breath, consider biofeedback tools such as McConnell’s Breathe Strong app, which can help users pace their breathing wherever they are.

        Level of difficulty: Beginner

        3. Progressive Relaxation

        How it’s done: To nix tension from head to toe, close the eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two to three seconds each. Start with the feet and toes, then move up to the knees, thighs, glutes, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw, and eyes—all while maintaining deep, slow breaths. Having trouble staying on track? Anxiety and panic specialist Dr. Patricia Farrell suggests we breathe in through the nose, hold for a count of five while the muscles tense, then breathe out through the mouth on release.

        When it works best: At home, at a desk, or even on the road. One word of caution: Dizziness is never the goal. If holding the breath ever feels uncomfortable, tone it down to just a few seconds.

        Level of difficulty: Beginner

        4. Nadi Shodhana or "Alternate Nostril Breathing"

        6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less

        How it’s done: A yogi’s best friend, this breath is said to bring calm, balance, and unite the right and left sides of the brain. Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb, and exhaling through the left nostril.

        When it works best: Crunch time, or whenever it’s time to focus or energize. Just don’t try this one before bed: Nadi shodhana is said to “clear the channels” and make people feel more awake. “It’s almost like a cup of coffee,” Pacheco says.

        Level of difficulty: Intermediate

        5. Guided Visualization

        How it’s done: Head straight for your happy place, no questions asked. With a coach, therapist, or helpful recording as your guide, breathe deeply while focusing on pleasant, positive images to replace any negative thoughts. Psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer explains that while it’s just one means of achieving mindfulness, “Guided visualization helps puts you in the place you want to be, rather than letting your mind go to the internal dialogue that is stressful.”

        When it works best: Pretty much any place you can safely close your eyes and let go (e.g. not at the wheel of a car).

        Level of difficulty: Intermediate.

        6. Kapalabhati or "Skull Shining Breath"

        How it’s done: Ready to brighten up your day from the inside out? This one begins with a long, slow inhale, followed by a quick, powerful exhale generated from the lower belly. Once comfortable with the contraction, up the pace to one inhale-exhale (all through the nose) every one to two seconds, for a total of 10 breaths.

        When it works best: When it’s time to wake up or start looking on the bright side. “It’s pretty abdominal-intensive,” Pacheco says, “but it will warm up the body, shake off stale energy, and wake up the brain.” If alternate nostril breathing is like coffee, consider this a shot of espresso, she says.

        Level of difficulty: Advanced

        While stress, frustration, and other daily setbacks will always be there, the good news is, so will our breath.

        Originally published July 2014. Updated September 2015.

        Info Provider:
        https://www.anxieties.com/57/panic-step4
         
        Calming Breath. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs. Hold your breath to the count of "three." Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.
        https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/relaxation-techniques-for-stress-relief.htm

          Deep breathing. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
          https://www.health.harvard.edu/.../relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-er...
          Apr 13, 2018 - Relaxation techniques such as breath control via deep breathing ... One way is to invoke the relaxation response, through a technique first ...
          healthland.time.com/2012/10/08/6-breathing-exercises-to-relax-in-10-minutes-or-less/
            Oct 8, 2012 - Don't wait until fight or flight kicks in before minding your breath. Controlled breathing not only keeps the mind and body functioning at their best ...
            https://draxe.com/breathing-exercises/
              Mar 31, 2017 - Not all breathing exercises are the same, but I especially love the ones that help the body relax and quiet a busy mind. The cool thing is that ...
              https://blog.bulletproof.com/deep-breathing-exercises/
              Dec 20, 2017 - Here are three do-anywhere, easy deep breathing exercises to help bring your stress response down a few notches so you can relax.

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