Breathe Easy: 4 Ways to Stay Calm and Keep Cool at Work
Health and Lifestyle Crazy day at work? Try a breathing exercise to relax and reduce stress.
Breathing deeply is a well-known stress reliever and has a plethora of health benefits. However, in our high-impact, overscheduled lives, we tend to breathe rather shallowly most of the time. You can use the following four techniques almost anywhere.
1. Rhythmic breathing
Inhale slowly, then exhale slowly. Try counting to five as youinhale, and again as you exhale. Pay attention to how your body is changing as you your breath fills you, then leaves your body.
2. Deep breathing
Focus on your navel. Breathe in slowly, directing your breath to that spot. As you inhale, let the air fill upward, into your chest and up into your shoulders. Then exhale as though you were a balloon being deflated. Repeat this and notice how your body responds.
3. Visualized breathing
Once you’re comfortably seated, close your eyes. As you breathe in slowly, imagine relaxation entering your body and stress leaving it. Keep a natural, easy rhythm as you breathe deeply, and visualize your breath traveling through your body as you do so, filling you up, then rushing out as you exhale. With every inhale, imagine you are bringing in more relaxation, and with every exhale, imagine that you are pushing out more stress.
4. Progressive muscle relaxation
Concentrate on your own breathing, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply. In your mind, give yourself a physical examination as you do this. What areas feel tense or tight? Focus your breath on these areas as you inhale and imagine the stress leaving you exhale. You might find it helpful to start at your toes and move up, gradually letting each muscle relax as you breathe in and out.