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When Stress Hits Let Your Breath Handle It

By Sandy Schroeder

We all take our breath for granted, but there are real stress reduction benefits that could help us..

Newsmax spotlighted research by Richard Brown and Patricia Gerberg about the healing powers of the breath. They suggest using your breath to create a sense of well-being. As you slow down and balance your breathing, the brain and the body is nurtured, balancing hormones and soothing the soul.

How Do You Make That Happen?

You may experience the power of your breath with yoga or tai chi, or simply sit in a quiet spot and focus on your breath as you calm down and let tensions go.  As you breathe in slowly and deeply, you counter  the "fight or flee" breathing response that produces quick shallow breaths and a rush of stress hormones.  

Pay Attention to Your Breath                                                                    

When tension begins to build, slow it down. Step away for a few minutes to let your breath take control. When you return, you will be better prepared to take on the challenges and see it through with calmness and alertness.

Stanford researchers say people do well with a breathing rate of 5.5 breaths per minute. Breathe in to a count of 5 and out to a count of 5 or 6 .         

Wherever you are with depression, anxiety, sleep issues or ongoing pain, this gentle focus on breath in yoga, tai chi or meditation will keep you balanced as you grow stronger physically and mentally. You can create a quiet breath place whenever and wherever you need it.    

According to the American Institute of Stress, you are creating the relaxation response  Dr. Herbert Benson made famous. As more oxygen flows to the brain, we can lower blood pressure, sharpen memory and strengthen our emotional resilience.

Two Ways To Put This To Work

Take a deep sigh - Your body and brain are reacting naturally when you give a deep sigh. Put that sigh to work as you breathe in fully through the nose and then exhale with a loud sigh. The mind and body will rebalance and you will feel less stressed. You can use this technique whenever you need it.

Do a 1:2 breath - Inhale to a count of 3 or 4 and exhale 6 to 8. As the body and the mind release stress you will feel relieved and more relaxed.

Start the day with 10 to 20 minutes of breathing exercises, and begin the day calmer and clearer. When stress shows up, take 30 seconds to recharge your breathing and keep your balance. Life may look a lot brighter.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brea, Calif.

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