I recently shared one breath hack to help you reduce stress and anxiety. In this post, I'm sharing another tip on ways that you can breathe less to reduce your stress. If you haven't read the previous post and watched the video, do that now.
In this post you'll learn a simple technique to reduce stress and regulate your nervous system by harnessing the power of your breath.
I encourage you to practice this anytime you feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious and do 20 to 30 reps or about 2-3 minutes of this breathing techniques. You can do it as many times during the day as you feel called to do.
The key is slowing the breath and extending the length of the exhalation. When you extend the length of your exhalation, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is your rest, relax, restore state. It's also the state in which you digest your food. If you're living in fight or flight all the time you may not be digesting your food very well. So this is great to before or after you eat as well.
As always, you're going to be breathing in through the nose and really focus on engaging your diaphragm when you breathe. And you are going to exhale super, super slowly, like you're breathing out through a straw., You'll take a normal breath in through the nose, and then exhale super slowly through the mouth with your lips pursed and repeat this for 20 to 30 times.
Repeat this technique until you start to feel a calmer, more grounded, and more centered. This breath will help shift you into a state in which you can respond to a situation rather than react, and you're able to make clearer, wiser decisions.
The key benefits from a physiological perspective are that you are shifting your nervous system into the parasympathetic state. You're also balancing out the oxygen to co2 ratio in our body. The way most people breathe is over-oxygenating the body and contributing to an inefficient use of oxygen.
That ultimately contributes to oxidative stress, inflammation, anxiety and poor mood. CO2 is quite calming, relaxing and expansive. Have you ever heard when someone has a panic attack they are advised to breathe through a paper bag. Why is that?
When you put a paper bag over your nose and mouth, and start breathing in and out. You're breathing out carbon dioxide into the paper bag. And eventually you start breathing it back in, and that calms you down.
Give this practice a try and see how you feel. And remember that whenever you're feeling stressed, slow your breath and breathe less.