People are stressed out. And stress takes its toll by negatively affecting our neuroendocrine, metabolic, and immune systems. This stress even affects the way we breathe – upper chest breathers exhibit poor cardiovascular efficiency and nervous system balance.
The good news is that breathing retraining is very effective, and by practicing various breathing techniques you can reduce anxiety, reduce oxidative stress, achieve better balance of the parasympathetic and sympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous systems, reduce blood pressure, and reduce resting heart rate. In short, it's well worth it to spend a few minutes per day on specialized breathing techniques.
What to Do
- Lie down and place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly.
- Relax all your muscles and begin breathing deep. Pull air into your belly first and then into your chest. If you do it correctly, you'll feel the hand on your belly rise for the first two-thirds of the breath, then the hand on your chest will rise for the last-third of the breath. Make sure your exhalation lasts longer than your inhalation, ideally around twice as long.
- Repeat for 3-5 minutes.