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Jun 29, 2011

Breathe | The Easiest Way To Rid Stress and Relax

It seems simple enough. Inhale, then exhale. We do it all the time.
But do we do it well?

Breathing improperly creates a constant state of stress in the body. We can live without food for months, we can live without water for days, but we can live only a few minutes without air.

Yet most of us breathe inadequately. We rush through our lives breathing shallowly, and the cost is great. The stress this creates in our bodies diminishes our well being on many levels. Improper breathing can reduce immune function, cause depression, poor muscle function and recovery, and the inability to think clearly. And this is just a sampling of a very long list of the possible negative consequences of not breathing well. Decreased breath equals increased stress. Stress is the underpinning of many diseases and often exacerbates poor health conditions.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your current stress level:

  • Do you sleep poorly and wake up still tired?
  • Do you have aches and pains that seem to come from nowhere?
  • Do you get frequent headaches?
  • Are you irritable and/or short tempered?
  • Do you find yourself easily frustrated?
  • Are you tired all the time?
  • Do you often feel like there just are not enough hours in the day to get everything done?
  • Do you frequently suffer from colds, flues and other illness?
  • Have you lost your enthusiasm for life?

These are just a few of the common complaints of people suffering from stress. Stress diminishes our quality of life, and breathing properly can restore it!

The bonus is breathing well can be done anywhere at any time. To breathe properly simply let your belly relax and expand as you draw air in through your nose. As you continue to inhale let your ribs expand, and then finally fill your lungs to the top. Then reverse that process as you exhale through your mouth. Make sure that you empty the lungs completely before you take your next breath. It’s that simple!

…And the benefits are immediate. You will find that after just a few short minutes of breathing well, you can think more clearly and that ideas and solutions to problems come more readily. You will feel calmer and more peaceful, ready to handle the challenges of life. You will be more energized. Your muscles will relax and need much less effort to move. In short, life will be easier and you will be happier.

Create new breathing habits for yourself. Use daily activities as a cue to remember to take a deep breath: waiting at red lights, taking a shower, laying down to sleep, preparing a meal, entering and leaving your home. Anything can become a cue to remember to breathe deeply and fully, and soon you will find that it becomes automatic.

So why not start right now?! Inhale slowly and deeply, exhale fully and have a great day!