Stressed Out? Just Breathe!

Attractive man breathing outdoor

(DGIwire)   Many specialists believe that breathing exercises are essential to relieve stress. Yet reaping their benefits requires actually incorporating such exercises into your daily life.

Recognizing the true extent of stress in our lives can be difficult.  If you learn to identify the signs of stress, and nip it by taking a short relaxation break, the greater your overall health and odds of longevity will be.

Stress shows itself in classic ways:  a headache, stiff neck, nagging backache, rapid breathing, sweaty palms or upset stomach.  If you notice you are getting irritable and less tolerant of minor disturbances, or losing your temper and yelling, you are likely reacting to stress.  Higher pulse, inability to concentrate, jumpiness and constant exhaustion are other clues.

Dian Griesel Ph.D., President of Dian Griesel Int’l.  and co-author of Turbocharged and The TurboCharged Mind offers the following simple breathing strategies to quickly calm yourself down.

Some of the best breathing exercises bring multiple senses into the process of relaxation.  One example is “Palming”:  Close your eyes and cover with the palms of your hands.  Block out all light—but don’t add too much pressure on your eyelids.  Breathe in deeply to a count of 5.  Hold for a count of 5.  Release to a count of 5. Repeat.

Another quick exercise is “Imagining”:  Take a deep breath or two.  Slowly breathe in to a count of 5, a hold for 5 and a release to a count of about 5. In your mind’s eye, see a mental picture of something relaxing:  a stream, mountains, a lake, the ocean, a smiling face, someone you love, relaxing in the sun, a walk in the woods or a garden.  Allow yourself to linger in the image as you breathe deeply.  Continue with deep breaths in, a comfortable hold, and a long steady release.

Got a job interview or important meeting coming up?  It is important to breathe before, during and after.  Why?

• The opposite of breathing is dead.  The last thing you want to be in an interview or meeting is Dead On Arrival.  So, take a few deep breaths before walking in to compose yourself and your thoughts. Breathe and relax.

• Add a deep sighing vibration as you let out your breath, kind of like doing your best Darth Vader imitation. The addition of this vibration will make you feel extra great both mentally and physically. More importantly, the force will be with you!

• Remember short breaths could lead to hyperventilation– and passing out is never recommended.

• Before answering any question when you feel as if you are in a stressful situation or under attack, take the time to breathe in deeply and release the air steadily.  You’ll be perceived as calm and thoughtful, even if you are simply catching your breath!

• When the meeting is over, find a private spot where nobody will bother you for one minute.  Take 5-10 deep breaths-but this time with your eyes closed. Reflect on how well you handled things and let go any worries because what has been said has been said.  Remember what author of The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, said:  “Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.”

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