It’s Your Health: The Benefits of Breathing Exercises

adapted by Earleen Riley


Breathing exercises bring wonderful benefits. They can reverse your stress response which, if chronically triggered and not reversed in a timely manner, can lead to chronic stress. This can really wreak havoc on your body. Breathing
exercises can help to reverse the myriad problems caused by chronic stress including: headache; chronic fatigue; sleeping problems; concentration
problems; anxiety and phobia; panic disorder; and depression.
If you find yourself experiencing the same stressors repeatedly, breathing exercises can help you respond in a more relaxed way. Proactive strategies that change your lifestyle to eliminate some of the stressors may also be a good idea. For example, changing conditions at your job to prevent work stress, or developing communication skills to combat relationship stress may be
more effective than just using breathing exercises when you experience daily stress from these situations.
Conversely, if you?re having trouble sleeping, the featured exercise may prove very helpful.
Breathing Exercise
1. Close Your Eyes And Relax. Let your breathing get become
slower and deeper.
2. Practice Stress Relief Breathing. Breathe from your
diaphragm or belly instead of from your shoulders or chest.
Don?t force it, but let your breathing become natural and
relaxed.
3. Visualize. As you breathe in, imagine that ?relaxation?
is coming into your body and flowing through your limbs,
reaching every part of you. As you exhale, imagine that all the
stress from your body is being exhaled. After a few minutes
you should feel more full of peace, and the stress in your
body should be reduced.
4. Or?As you breathe, imagine that your hands and feet
are getting warmer. With practice, this can further reverse
your stress and actually warm your extremities, relaxing your
body in the process.
5. Another Idea. Imagine that with each breath your body is
becoming more and more loose. With each exhalation, your
limbs are a little more like spaghetti, your face a little more
expressionless, your body a still pool of water.
6. Keep Breathing. Continue this exercise for 5 minutes or
20?whatever works for you. It can help you return to your
activities with a renewed sense of strength and serenity.