3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress & Anxiety!
A couple of minutes of deep breathing can produce amazing benefits for stress reduction for up to hours. Because deep breathing reduces the sensitivity to pain, it is one of the best DRUG-FREE treatments for pain management.
In this video, Body Support Center's owner and neuromuscular therapist Scott Shinick takes you through 3 breathing exercises or practices that you can use to reduce stress & anxiety during times of uncertainty & stressful conditions.
Here are 3 breathing exercises to get you started:
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing (or Belly Breathing)
This is a basic breathing practice that is accessible to everyone and can immediately provide benefits. It can also be done anywhere, sitting, standing or lying down on your back. If possible, close your eyes (this can also be done with a soft gaze as well) Place your hands on your abdomen. Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your abdomen (or belly) rise against your hands and allowing your ribs to expand. Then exhale slowly through your nose, feeling your abdomen release and your ribs relax.
Continue this breathing for as long as you wish. Start with 5-10 minutes and remember that YOU deserve sometime to RECHARGE and take care of yourself.
2. Alternate Nostril Breathing
This practice can calm the nervous system and balance the right and left hemisphere's of the brain, helping to produce mental clarity and calmness.
Find a comfortable chair or seat so that your back is tall and your head, neck and trunk are aligned. Breathe deeply, slowly & steady with your inhale and exhale about the same length. Close your eyes or soften your gaze. You will use your right thumb and right ring finger to close your nostrils as you breathe during this exercise. To begin, rest your right thumb lightly against your righty nostril and your right ring finger against your left nostril. Inhale through both nostrils.
Then gently close your right nostril with your thumb and exhale through your left nostril.
Inhale through the left nostril, then close and exhale through the right nostril.
Inhale through the right nostril, then close and exhale through your left nostril.
Repeat this pattern for a few minutes, keeping your breathe slow and steady.
If at any point it is uncomfortable, breathe through both nostrils.
After your final inhale through your left nostril and exhale out the right, lower your hand and take three normal breaths, breathing through both nostrils. Bring your attention back to the room and just notice how you feel.
3. Finger Breathing
Find a comfortable seat or chair so that your back is tall and your head, neck and trunk are aligned. Spread your hand and stretch your fingers out like a star. You can choose either hand to start. Pretend the pointer finger of your other hand is a pencil and imagine you are going to trace an outline around your hand and fingers. Practice one round then close your eyes or use a soft gaze.
Start at the bottom of your thumb and slide your finger up your thumb, pause at the top, and then slide your finger down the other side. Now slide your pointer finger up your second finger, pause and slide down the other side. Continue tracing your fingers up, pause and down. Slide your finger slowly, watch your finger move and notice how it feels. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fifth finger (pinky). Now switch and repeat on the opposite hand.
Now you are ready to add some breathing. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your nose. Remember to keep it slow and steady, enjoying the breath. Place your pointer finger at the bottom of your thumb and breathe in as you slide up. Breathe out as you slide down. Breathe in as you slide up your second finger and breathe out as you slide down. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fingers and you have taken five slow breaths. Now switch hands and repeat on the opposite hand.
Continue like this for a few minutes, tracing and breathing on all 10 fingers. How does your body feel now? Do you feel calm or would you like to take another round? Use this technique to calm your nervous system and bring ease and comfort to your body and mind.
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Thank you & stay safe!
President / Neuromuscular Therapist / Trainer
Body Support Center