TRI-CITES, WA - Staying indoors is now the new normal, and for many it means higher levels of stress and anxiety during these uncertain times.
Kacie Sams a physical therapist at Lourdes Health shares some breathing techniques designed to reduce stress.
Try the breathing techniques below for 3 to 5 minutes per day to help combat anxiety and alter your mood.
Breathing – It’s essential! Courtesy of Lourdes Health and Kacie Sams.
Can be performed anywhere at any time. Instant stress reduction and relaxation without spending a dime. You may notice that your mind wanders during these exercises. That is normal. Simply refocus on your breath and continue the exercise.
Diaphragmatic breathing: Activates parasympathetic nervous system, aka “rest and digest” system
1. Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest.
2. Inhale, slowly and completely, through the nose. As you inhale, feel the belly rise and push the belly hand out while the chest remains still.
3. Exhale, slowly and completely, through the mouth as you feel the hand on your belly lower to the starting position. Your exhale should be slightly longer than the inhale.
4. Repeat for 10 breaths when needing an instant boost. Otherwise, practice 3-5 minutes per day.
Alternate nostril breathing Controls hyperventilation, reduces anxiety, and slows the heart rate
For explanation, we will use the right hand, utilizing index finger and thumb.
1. Close your rightnostril with your thumb, then inhale through the left nostril.
2. Now close the left nostril with the index finger (both nostrils closed).
3. Release the right thumb/right nostril and exhale slowly through the right nostril.
4. Keep left nostril closed as you inhale through the right nostril.
5. Close both nostrils with your thumb and index finger at the top of the inhale.
6. Repeat 3-5 minutes.
It’s not just for yogis and monks, everyone benefits. This practice helps promote improved immune system function, improves stress management, decreases anxiety, improves mood, decreases inflammation in the body, decreases brain fog, helps manage chronic pain, improves sleep, and can be used to help manage cravings. Plus, you can find a number of resources that are FREE!
Free Guided Meditation Websites (Thank you, Lisa Julson for these resources!)
Howard, Kent. (2020). Mindfulness and Stress Reduction. Institute for Natural Resources Seminar, Kennewick, WA.
On Target Living. 2020. https://ontargetliving.com