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The Power of Breath

Posted by Demond Thompson on May 12, 2010

We live in a very fast paced society. In this new age of technology with iPods, the internet, and cell phones that are essentially mini computers, we are constantly bombarded with stimulus and it puts stress on the mind and body. This is before we actually talk about the stresses of work, family obligations, and our day-to-day activities.

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses, and it’s a normal part of life. The events that happen around you (and your reaction to them) put stress on your body. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.

Next time you feel stress, pay attention to your breathing. When we are stressed the breath usually becomes very shallow. The first thing you do to relieve that stress is to begin deep breathing.

Deep breathing lowers blood pressure, relax the muscles, and slow your heart and respiration rate. It also prevents stress from building up. It reduces insomnia and fatigue and reduces general anxiety. It also increases your energy level and helps you slow down your racing thoughts. The list goes on and on.

A word of caution: if you feel dizzy or light headed, then stop. With that being said, here’s a deep breathing exercise to get you started:

Deep Breathing Exercise
Take a very deep breath through your mouth and nose, completely filling up your lungs. Now hold it for 3 seconds, and exhale, forcing every last bit of air out. Take a few regular breaths, and repeat 5-10 times.

In a nutshell, deep breathing counteracts the physical and mental affects of the fight or flight response. It serves to reduce anxiety when it strikes. When practiced regularly, its physical and mental benefits may also help prevent anxiety, and keeps you in the present moment, so you may think clearly and function better.

Try it and let me know how it goes.

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