Deep breathing can help you relax by lowering your blood pressure, slowing your heart rate and respiration rates and easing muscle tension. Even as little as five minutes a day of deep breathing can calm and refresh you and leave you more alert.
The January issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers instructions to achieve relaxation by breathing.
* Sit in a comfortable chair, feet flat on the floor.
* Close your eyes, or visually focus on something in the room.
* Paying attention to your breathing, inhale slowly through your nose. Visualize your diaphragm moving down to create more space for your lungs to expand.
* Let your lower abdomen relax and expand as it fills with air.
* When your lungs and abdomen are full, slowly let air out through your mouth and allow your diaphragm to collapse.
* Repeat. If your mind wanders, return your attention to your breathing.
* When you are ready to end the session, don't jump out of your chair. Slowly start to regain a sense of your surroundings. When you're ready, allow your attention to return fully.
Practice breathing deeply to reduce anxiety, conserve energy, improve sleep, improve concentration and relieve muscle tension. The long-term goal is to reduce the effects of stress on your life.
Isn't that great? And simple! I forget just how good it feels to take in a deep, long breath until I am reminded to do it.
So, take some deep, long breaths today. Let's never take for granted that we are able to do that!