Monday, March 27, 2017

Just Breathing Can Really Reduce Stress

Each of have stress in our lives to some degree. Some perhaps deal with it better than others. Maybe even you have dealt with it in times of your lives better than others.  

I know I am one big stress ball, frankly, most days, I am an anxious stressed out wreck. And while I do have a busy life and lots on my plate - also tend to worry about things (a lot)

Along the way, in learned to deal with my stress, I have picked up a few breathing techniques that I thought I would share with you. May I humbly suggest that you try one or maybe all of them and see how they might fit into your life. Our bodies run so much better when we are feeling less stress.  And that is what we all want. -- And some of us just want to get through the day without pulling our eyebrows out!

Breathing exercises work because they reconnect us to our bodies and help to quiet our minds. 
Deep breathing does more than help us relax; it’s been scientifically proven to improve wellness.

The First one is called : Equal Breathing -

How to do Equal Breathing:

  • Inhale through the nose for a count of four.
  • Then exhale for a count of four through the nose (this adds a natural resistance to the breath).
  • Do this 2-3 times.

After you have practiced this for a while, you might want to increase the number to 6 or 8.

When my Ezra can't calm down and sleep, I do this one with him.  I let him lay down and close his eyes and I count for him.  I say, "breath in.... 2, .. 3, .. 4.. and breath out ... 2, ... 3, ... 4.  Some night I end up doing it until he falls asleep, but he is learning to do it on his own.

 The Second one is called : Deep Belly Breathing - 

If you have ventured into a yoga class or watched a yoga video on youtube, then you have seen this breathing technique. It is my personal favorite one to practice, because I feel like it involves my whole body more than the other two.  It is the one that I choose to do when I am trying to fall asleep and my mind is racing.

Believe it or not, most of us have actually forgotten how to breathe into our bellies.  Here is how you do it.

  • Lay down on your back on a bed.
  • Put your hands on your belly.
  • Breathe naturally and notice if your belly is going up and down.
  • Now gently breathe into your belly; keep your hands on your belly.
  • Keep breathing till you feel your belly going up and down gently.
  • Do this breathing for 3-10 minutes depending on how much time you have.

I hear that if you practice this enough times. (like as in a Yogi), you can start to breath like this all the time. - No wonder they are so relaxed!.

The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath)" Exercise by Dr. Weil

This one is a little more complicated it and if I am going to do it, I honestly really have to focus (which is hard for my mind).

But I want to tell you a story, my son Jett was going into a theater audition and he really wanted the part. He had tried out a week earlier for a part he felt he had a good chance of getting it and he didn't get it. But then we called back to audition for a different part. The previous rejection had him extra nervous and as this was one of the last parts in the play, he was desperate to do his best.

We were a little bit early for his call time, so as we sat in the car, I asked him if he wanted to try a new breathing exercise that I had just learned and did he want to try it.  It took him a few repeats of the breath to get the hang of it, and then we continued until he call time came. He was relaxed and confident.

If you are really interested -- the science behind this breathing technique is amazing.  Really cool stuff.

Here's how you do it.

  • Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.  (It will at least the first time) 
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

I know life is stressful, I know we all are dealing with a lot, and most of it is completely out of our control. What we do have control over is how we react and how choose to move forward.  Good Luck out there, friends.