Continuing with stress relief, let’s get onto eliminating a stressor.
Wrong muscles used and overworked cause chronic stress. The little aches and pains in the shoulder, base of your neck as well as base of your skull. Those small muscles were never meant to do so much work.
Full deep breaths should be 2/3 in lower belly, 1/3 in lungs. In reality, it all goes in your lungs, it just feels as if you were breathing into your lower belly or upper chest.
The easiest way to practice is to:
– Lie on your back, knees bent, one hand on your tummy
– Fill up your stomach first, feel it rising up
– push the air down as far as possible
– Exhale ALL the air as you feel your tummy go down
Practice this for 3 days, best time is at the end of your day in bed, just before you fall asleep. It helps wind you down.
On Day 4, at the end of each of your inhale to your belly, begin increasing the air intake into your upper chest. You’ll notice you can take in quite a bit more air with just one deep breath.
Remember children breathing before they’re self conscious. All the air goes into their belly.
What if I have trouble with breathing into my belly? It’s impossible.
It is definitely frustrating in the beginning to overcome the millions of breaths you’ve taken the “wrong way”. If you persist and continue practicing, you will make it through. You’ll notice you’ll be a lot more patient the deeper you’re able to breathe.
One thing to be mindful of is if you take in more air than you usually do, you may get light headed but the additional oxygen. This is a good thing, you just need to work up to it slowly.
Go ahead and give this a try for the next week and comment below this post on what improvements you notice, if any.
The stress levels we have today are at least 100 times the stress levels of our grandparents. We get it from every angle as I’ve written about in another post (How Stress Hinders Your Weight Loss Efforts) Here I’ll outline 3 simple breathing exercises you can practice before going to sleep to help you unwind and have a deeper and higher quality of sleep.
1) Leg Tucks
Lie in bed or anywhere, really. Bend your knees, close your eyes and grab the back of your thighs right by your knees (to avoid compressing the knees). Take a deep breath into your belly and start pulling your knees towards your chest. Begin exhaling as soon as you start pulling your legs. Exhale very slowly and match the movement of pulling your legs to your breath. Time it so by the time your legs reach your chest, you completely exhale all the air from your lungs. Now slowly begin inhaling as you lower your legs. You can stop short of actually resting your legs on the bed (or floor) and begin exhaling and tucking your legs. The slower you do this the more relaxed you will become.
Do as many as you feel are beneficial (aiming for 12 or more, up to 100)
2) Deep Belly Breathing
For this, you will also need to get in the same position as above (lying on your back with knees bent) but keep your feet on the bed/ground. Close your eyes and take a deep breath into your belly, while imagining that you’re trying to touch your belly to the ceiling. Take as deep of a breath as you possibly can without elevating your rib cage. Work at keeping it contained all the air in your tummy. Exhale just as slowly expelling all the used air from your system. In your mind’s eye, imagine that your tummy sinks down towards your spine leaving no air behind.
Perform as many deep breaths as needed but aim for 12+.
3) Left Nostril Breathing
If you’re still awake after doing the above exercises, take your right thumb and place it at the opening of your right nostril, completely blocking it. Continue doing the Deep Belly Breathing through your left nostril only. This will target and activate your parasympathetic nervous system more effectively, signalling your body to produce more relaxation hormones.
Alternatively, if you’re at work or somewhere else where you feel “worked up”, you can do this sitting in a chair, in your car (make sure you’re parked!) or anywhere else. You’ll still get benefits as long as you stop before you actually pass out and hurt yourself falling down.
What other techniques do you use to help you feel relaxed?