We all lead pretty busy lives. Early mornings, late nights, work, stress, activities and more. Most of us try to suck it up and deal with it, but stress can takes its toll, if we’re not careful. The typical reaction to a long day is plopping down on the couch and having a drink, but that doesn’t help us cope. A better way to counter all that stress, is to meditate or implement some simple breathing techniques. The good news is, you can do it at your desk, in the car, at home, in a park, at the beach or just about anywhere.
Below are some great resources that we gathered up for you to use as a resource. Read the articles, practice different techniques and find one that works best for you.
- Deep Breathing – Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, too, and can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music. All you really need is a few minutes and a place to stretch out.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation – To nix tension from head to toe, close the eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two to three seconds each.
- Body Scan Meditation – A body scan is similar to progressive muscle relaxation except, instead of tensing and relaxing muscles, you simply focus on the sensations in each part of your body.
- Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the ability to remain aware of how you’re feeling right now, your “moment-to-moment” experience—both internal and external. Thinking about the past—blaming and judging yourself—or worrying about the future can often lead to a degree of stress that is overwhelming. But by staying calm and focused in the present moment, you can bring your nervous system back into balance. Mindfulness can be applied to activities such as walking, exercising, eating, or meditation.
- Visualization – Close your eyes and let your worries drift away. Imagine your restful place. Picture it as vividly as you can—everything you can see, hear, smell, and feel. Visualization works best if you incorporate as many sensory details as possible, using at least three of your senses. When visualizing, choose imagery that appeals to you; don’t select images because someone else suggests them, or because you think they should be appealing. Let your own images come up and work for you.
- Equal Breathing – Balance can do a body good, beginning with the breath. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four — all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath.
- Belly Breathing – With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing – A yogi’s best friend, this breath is said to bring calm and balance, and unite the right and left sides of the brain. Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril.
- Guided Visualization – With a coach, therapist or helpful recording as your guide, breathe deeply while focusing on pleasant, positive images to replace any negative thoughts.
- Coherent Breathing – Coherent breathing is basically breathing at a rate of five breaths per minute, which is the middle of the resonant breathing rate range. I achieve this if I count to five inhaling and count to five exhaling.
- Resistance Breathing – Resistance breathing is exactly what its name suggests: breathing that creates resistance to the flow of air. Resistance can be created by pursing the lips, placing the tip of the tongue against the inside of the upper teeth, hissing through the clenched teeth, tightening the throat muscles, partly closing the glottis, narrowing the space between the vocal cords, or using an external object such as breathing through a straw.
Stress can be a killer, but taking the time to practice these techniques can help calm your mind and body, making you healthier, more productive and energetic. Try them out and let us know which one you find most beneficial.
To learn more, check out these resources:
6 Different Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief
6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less
3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Anxiety
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Aaron Guyett says
This is an excellent article for those of you who are looking to de-stress and improve your clarity, focus, and performance!
This is very educational! Breathing is not only significant for life, but it is such an influential factor towards our health!
Aubrie Pohl says
When was the last time you really focused on your breath?! Our breath is our life force, and through concentrated focus and effort we can increase our vitality by introducing a deep, full bodied breath. This can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our relaxation system. These methods of mindfulness, meditation, and pranayama (breathwork) can bring about physiological effects that allow you to reduce your stress and find your perpetual state of calm.
Joe Yo says
Breathing in a controlled happy environment does wonders for one’s outlook on life and quality in general. My favorite type of breathing exercise is deep inhale for 5 seconds and slow 5 second exhale, it really slows me down and zen out!