Relieve Stress with Mindful Deep Breathing

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Ease stress and find your calm with this mindful deep breathing practice.

The next time you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious, try taking a moment to breathe. It’s simple, effective, and you can do it anywhere.

Here’s how:

Start with a few cleansing breaths with eyes closed, if you feel comfortable. Then, inhale deeply through the nose, then exhale through the mouth. Repeat until you’ve found the rhythm of your breathing and feel in-tune with your body. Next, place your hands on your belly, rolling your shoulders back and down. Feel yourself fill with air from the lower belly to the shoulders as you inhale deeply. On your next exhale, try to relax your shoulders, loosen your jaw and empty the air by pulling your navel inward toward the spine.

As your abdominal muscles relax, you’ll feel your belly round with each inhalation. When exhaling, try drawing your belly inward and up towards your heart. Continue these breathing techniques with a 4-count inhale and a matching 4-count exhale. With each exhale, your body gets more relaxed. Be mindful of how you feel as you continue breathing, paying attention to your body and relaxing your muscles.

You can also try to avoid stress with good posture. If you’re unable to tame your tension on your own or you continue to experience stress symptoms, talk to your doctor about intervention strategies like therapy.

Practice these deep breathing techniques every day and see how you feel. As SilverSneakers Trainer Sharlyn says, “Make sure you leave a little time each day to take a breath.”

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