Heart racing? Feeling overwhelmed? Use Monday to practice belly breathing as an easy and proven way to reduce stress.
Stress can have a toll on your body and on your heart health. It also impacts your mood and general wellness.
Belly breathing is a simple antidote to stress. It works by activating your body’s natural relaxation response, which helps relieve muscle tension all over your body, as well as lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Try some belly breathing to quickly get back to calm:
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
- Close your eyes and mouth. Place your awareness on your breath and not on your surroundings.
- Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four, making sure your diaphragm, or abdomen, is expanding and not your chest.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four.
- Continue in this way for a few breaths, or until you feel calm.
An added benefit is that by focusing your thoughts on the sensations of breathing, or even counting your breaths, you also help settle your mind. The next time you feel your heart race or your stress start to spike, do some belly breathing and feel the needle return to normal.
To calm your body and mind, enjoy these DeStress Monday animated breathing GIFs.