When we think of stress, we often associate it with negative feelings and emotions. But stress is actually a natural part of life, and can even be beneficial in small doses. The problem arises when we experience too much stress, which can lead to physical and emotional symptoms like headaches, insomnia, and increased anxiety.
One way to manage stress is through belly breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing). Belly breathing is a relaxation technique that involves taking deep breaths from the abdomen rather than the chest. This type of breathing helps calm the body down and promote a state of relaxation.
Here are some tips for practicing belly breathing:
1. Find a quiet spot and take a few minutes to yourself.
2. Place your hands on your abdomen and breathe in through your nose and out through your nose as well or your mouth if it feels more comfortable. Focus on feeling your abdomen expand with each breath.
3. Continue this pattern of deep breathing for several minutes until you feel more calm and relaxed. Belly breathing is that simple and hard because it takes time to incorporate this pattern as a new breathing standard. In one study, people who practiced belly breathing for just 10 minutes a day for eight weeks had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who didn't practice belly breathing.
Belly breathing can be done anywhere and anytime. And it's free! So next time you're feeling stressed, try taking some deep breaths into your belly and see how you feel.