Stress is part of our everyday lives, but there are strategies you can use to keep stress from becoming too overwhelming and unhealthy, says stress expert Eli Bay, president of The Relaxation Response Institute in Toronto. “When you breathe as if you are relaxed, you start to become relaxed.”
Here are 10 tips to help you reduce stress by breathing more healthfully.
- Consciously monitor your breathing.
- Don’t hold your breath.
- Centre yourself by taking deep inhalations and exhalations.
- Touch the palate with your tongue, says Bay, to quiet the mind.
- Breathe in through the nose.
- Breathe down into your back and imagine it expanding out.
- Breathe right down into your tummy.
- Let your tummy be soft when you breathe in.
- To relax, breathe in for 4, hold for 3, breathe out for 7. Repeat.
- Sign up for regular mind/body classes such as yoga and Tai Chi.
How stressed are you?
Want to know how stressed you are? Take our quick quiz. Answer each of the following statements with a yes or a no.
I feel nervous or anxious a lot.
I am a shallow breather.
I suffer from depression and/or fatigue.
I have chronic tension in parts of my body (raised shoulders, etc.).
I have ongoing health problems (hives, headaches, indigestion, etc.).
If you answered yes to three or more, stress management techniques might be beneficial to you.