January 10, 2005

Deep Breathing Beats Stress

Sitting in chair for just five minutes can calm you down, experts claim

HealthDayNews -- Stressed out? Try some deep breathing.

It can help you relax by easing muscle tension, slowing your heart rate, and lowering your blood pressure, says an article in the January issue of Mayo Clinic's Women's HealthSource. As little as five minutes of deep breathing a day can help you feel more calm, refreshed and alert.

The article offers some advice on how to achieve relaxation through breathing:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair and place your feet flat on the floor.
  • Either close your eyes or focus them on something in front of you.
  • Pay close attention to your breathing. Inhale slowly through your nose. Visualize your diaphragm moving up and down to provide more room for your lungs to expand.
  • Allow your lower abdomen to relax and expand as you take your breaths.
  • When your lungs are full, slowly let the air out through your mouth and allow your diaphragm to collapse.
  • Repeat the process. If your mind starts to drift, return its attention to your breathing.
  • When you've done your deep breathing exercises, don't just leap out of your chair. Take time to regain a sense of your surroundings.
  • Practicing deep breathing can help you reduce anxiety, conserve energy, relieve muscle tension, and improve your sleep and concentration, the article noted.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about dealing with stress.