Stress Reduction & Breathing

Breathing is one of the easiest ways to control your stress levels. Unfortunately (and ironically), may of us don't know how to breathe. Oxygen is constantly entering our lungs and waste is being breathed out. How we breathe affects how our heart and immune system function, as well as playing an important role on mood, stress, hormones, digestion, strength, and more.  In short, how you breathe can influence almost every aspect of your health.

How should I be breathing?

The most efficient way to breathe is belly breathing. As babies, we automatically breathed this way, but as we age, we tend to breathe using our chest and shoulder muscles (not the diaphragm!). 

Get that Belly Breath Back

Here's an exercise to help you get back to the breathing basics (it only takes a minute

  1. Get comfortable (free from distractions), standing or sitting with your feel flat on the floor and your back straight
  2. Take 3 deep breaths, through your nose and out your mouth. As you inhale let the breath completely fill your lungs and push your belly out (you may place your hand on your belly to feel this movement)
  3. As you exhale, imagine yourself breathing out all the stress that your body is carrying. Feel your belly move back in as your breath leaves
  4. Repeat (do this for 2 minutes)

This is a good exercise to do throughout the day, as it increases oxygen levels in your blood and can leave you feeling relaxed yet energized!

Want to learn more? Visit Kansas City Integrative Health, we are conveniently located in Overland Park.

Posted on October 29, 2014 .