Quick Way To Diminish Stress

breathe-KateTerHaar-flickr.jpg

Stress can intensify the symptoms of psychiatric issues such as depression and anxiety.

To combat the harmful effects of stress, we must do more than distract ourselves with TV or video games. We need to activate our body’s natural relaxation response. This creates a physical state of deep rest that changes our body’s reactions to stress.

By triggering a relaxation response, our:

  • Metabolism becomes slower.
  • Heart and breathing rates are reduced.
  • Muscle tension is relieved.
  • Blood pressure drops.
  • The body’s level of nitric oxide increases.

One of the best methods for activating the relaxation response is breathing. There are several easy breathing techniques that can be done nearly anywhere. Some, such as the Quieting Response, take only a few seconds to do.

The Quieting Response

This technique uses deep breathing with visualization to halt sudden increases in stress – and takes fewer than ten seconds to complete.

  1. First, smile inwardly with your eyes and mouth as you release any shoulder and neck tension.
  2. Next, imagine you have holes in the soles of your feet. As you slowly breathe in, picture hot air flowing through the sole’s holes and moving up your legs, through the pelvic and stomach areas, and into the lungs.
  3. Then, as you exhale, visualize the hot air flowing back down your body and out of the sole’s holes.
  4. As you breathe and picture the hot air flowing up and down your body, let it melt and release any tension held in your muscles.

Repeat this exercise anytime you notice an increase of stress or just want to feel more peaceful.

Source: stress.org
Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar / flickr creative commons

 
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