Kim Castro
March 6, 2022

Belly Breathing to Relieve Stress

Take a deep breath in. Hold it. Now let it out.

You may notice a difference in how you feel already.

The Power of Our Breath

Your breath is a powerful tool that you can use to anchor and ground yourself as well as to ease stress and make you feel less anxious. When we feel stressed, our breathing rate and pattern change as part of the "fight-or-flight response."

But most of us probably don’t think about our breath that often. Why? Because it’s always there, in the background. We don't have to think about breathing. We do it automatically. It's there when you need it.  But paying more attention to how you’re breathing can make a big impact on your stress levels.

What is Belly Breathing?

Fortunately, we also have the power to deliberately change our own breathing.

When we are feeling stressed or anxious, we tend to take shallow and short breaths. This can alleviate our stress and anxiety.

Belly breathing...also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a great way to relieve stress, drop into your body, and relax.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a breathing exercise that helps strengthen your diaphragm, an important muscle that enables you to breathe.  

Belly breathing has a lot of benefits, including:

☀️⠀ Lowering stress levels,  

☀️⠀Reducing your blood pressure,

☀️⠀ Regulate other critical bodily processes.  

And it's so easy to do! As you ponder the destruction of injustice, systemic racism, and mental health stigmas, give this a try: ⠀

1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable, quiet place

2. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach, just below the ribs⠀

3. Inhale slowly through the nose - try not to let your chest move, instead concentrate on sending the air into the palm that's on your stomach ⠀

4. Exhale slowly through the mouth - purse the lips into an 'o' as if you are going to take a sip of water through a straw ⠀

5. Repeat at least 3 times!

Alternate-Nostril Breathing

Here's another helpful tool that you can add to your toolbox for relieving stress and anxiety - alternate-nostril breathing.

Alternate-nostril breathing is also known as nadi shodhana. This type of breathing exercise involves blocking off one nostril at a time, then breathing through the other nostril. Here's how you can do it.

  1. Get into a comfortable seated position.
  2. Position your right hand by bending your pointer and middle fingers into your palm. This will leave your thumb, ring finger, and pinky extended.
  3. Now, close your eyes or soften your gaze downward.
  4. Take a few breaths. Inhale and exhale to begin.
  5. Now, close off your right nostril with your thumb.
  6. Inhale through your left nostril.
  7. Then, close off your left nostril with your ring finger.
  8. Open and exhale through your right nostril.
  9. Inhale through your right nostril.
  10. Close off your right nostril with your thumb.
  11. Open and exhale through your left nostril.
  12. Inhale through your left nostril.
  13. Repeat for 10 cycles.

These breathing exercises are great ways to help relieve stress, lower your heart rate, and keep you calm.

Another powerful way to relieve stress is by sharing your thoughts and feelings with a trusted person...

This can be a friend, a loved one, a mentor, or a therapist.

Your mental health matters.
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P.S.: This blog was created with AI software as a tool to supplement the author, accompanied by Wellnite Staff overview and supervision.
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