Suffering from Stress and Anxiety? Try Breathing and Relaxation Techniques.

breathingI am a big believer in prevention rather than cure. I’d much prefer to look after myself on a daily basis and utilise self-care practices than go down the road of being prescribed pharmaceuticals to mask symptoms.

Sure there’s a time and place for doctors and hospitals but really, there’s so much more that you CAN do to help yourself become the healthier and happier person that you deserve to be. In my opinion it all starts with the basics: breathing correctly, eating healthily and exercising regularly.

This is part of the reason why I love the Springday program so much as it inspires you to become more conscious of your daily exercise, nutrition, water consumption and relaxation amongst other important things. There’s expert advice, wellness providers and exercise programs all at your fingertips. Essentially Springday is helping you to implement self-care practices in to your daily life.

One of my favourite relaxation exercises that I like to do, is to practice mindful breathing for 5 – 10 minutes every day. For me, it’s a lovely way to finish up the working day, making the transition to a relaxing evening at home.

~ Find a quiet place at home.
~ Sit with legs cross-legged and eyes closed.
~ Breathe in through my nose for a count of 5 seconds.
~ Pause for 2 seconds.
~ Breathe out with pursed lips for a count of 10 seconds.
~ Pause for 2 seconds.
~ Repeat

With every inhale I visualise breathing in relaxation and energising oxygen.
With every exhale I visualise breathing out any and all stress that I have taken on throughout the day.

The purpose of breathing is to maintain an ideal balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide within. Too much oxygen, relative to carbon dioxide, creates an agitated state. By prolonging the out-breath, you conserve carbon dioxide and rebalance yourself, and as a result help to bring about a state of calm.

This breathing exercise can therefore also be a remarkably effective tool to counteract anxiety. There are however, three key factors to remember when you’re using breathing exercises to override anxiety, according to Brenda Simpson, President of Breathingwise Inc. based in Pasadena, California, whom is also a trained physiotherapist and Buteyko practitioner who has long had a professional interest in disorders of the respiratory system.

1: the in-breath must occur through the nose.
2: relax any muscles that have tensed up, typically the neck and shoulders.
3: remember the breath holds.

And with Christmas and the holiday season just around the corner, it might just be the very tool that is sacrosanct for your sanity.

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