This is well enough if we’re eye-to-eye with a hungry lion. But what if we’re experiencing ongoing stress due to job, relationship, health, money, or other worries?
Most of us only use the top third of our lungs when we breathe. Our breathing becomes even more shallow when we’re stressed—which adds to our stress because we’re not fully exhaling the waste products of respiration.
The next time you’re feeling stressed, try this easy “calming-breathing” technique, which stimulates the relaxation response. It calms your body and mind.
- Place your hand on your lower belly.
Gently breathe in through your nose so your lower belly rises. Time your inhale to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath in for a count of one.
Gently breathe out to a mental count of four. Notice how your belly falls.
Hold your breath out for a count of one.
Repeating this sequence a few times.
When to use the calming-breathing technique
• Before and after a stressful situation
• When feel tense or whenever you want to relax
• Before you eat. This breathing promotes mindful eating, while reducing “stress eating.”
• To help you fall asleep or get back to sleep
What’s your favorite stress reliever? Leave a comment below!
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