Looking for a way to reduce stress? Focus on breathing.
With the average person being busier than ever, we are all looking for ways to relax. When things get hectic, we have a hard time focusing on the now and staying in the present moment. Do you need to reduce stress? BREATHE
By shifting the focus to our breathing, we can reduce stress and increase mindfulness. Deep and intentional breathing is the fastest and easiest way to calm an overactive nervous system.
Benefits of breathing exercises
Below are just a few of the benefits that can be achieved by practicing breathing exercises:
- Relieves stress and improves cardiovascular function
- Lowers the heart rate and calms the nervous system
- Reduces general anxiety and has been shown to have positive effects on mental health
- Helpful in preparing the body for sleep by calming the mind and decreasing restlessness
- Positive impact on physical and physiological fitness-based performance
- Boosts the immune system
Alternate nostril breathing – An Alternate Exercise
Taking a page out of the yogi handbook, alternate nostril breathing is an effective and powerful tool that calms the nervous system and reduces the endless chatter of the mind. Alternate nostril breathing is a simple breathing exercise that can be incorporated into your daily life and is especially beneficial when you are trying to settle down at the end of the day. The benefits of this exercise are almost immediate and can be achieved in less than two minutes.
Just follow these easy steps to find your Zen:
- Close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe in the left nostril for a count of four.
- Close the left nostril with your ring finger and hold the breath briefly – two count
- With the left nostril still closed, breathe out the right nostril for six counts.
- Inhale again through the right nostril for four counts (left nostril is still closed).
- Close the right nostril with your thumb and hold the breath again briefly – two count
- With the right nostril still closed, breathe out the left nostril – six counts.
Repeat all steps 6-8 times
Putting it altogether
Remember that adding a new habit into your routine takes practice and patience. Start slowly by taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing. Soon enough this will become a regular part of your routine and you will start seeing the benefits in every part of your life. So when you need to reduce stress? BREATHE
Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach
Pittsburgh Fitness Project
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