Simple breathing exercises can help counter the rapid, shallow, erratic breathing that occurs during stressful events. When you take the time to practice slow, deep, regular breathing, you are training your body to handle or overcome these situations.
Here’s how to practice:
- Gently close your eyes to avoid distractions. Focus on your breathing and try not to let your mind wander.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. At the same time, push your stomach out – this uses your diaphragm.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds. Don’t strain.
- Exhale slowly and evenly through your nose. At the same time, release any stress in your body.
- Repeat this at least five to 10 times, concentrating on breathing deeply and slowly.
- Try to repeat this a number of times each day – at least four – even on good days.
Deep breathing is easy to do and it can be done any time, any place. After you feel more comfortable, you can use deep breathing to deal with stress as it occurs.
-Cathy M., Diabetes and Exercise Consultant at Dedham Health