Diaphragmatic Breathing and Stress Reduction
When you’re feeling the effects of stress and overwhelm in your life, a simple yet effective #breathing exercise can help reset your emotions. Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not, and it’s called #diaphragmatic breathing.
Diaphragmatic breathing is also called deep breathing, calm breathing, or belly breathing, but it all means the same thing: a way to calm your nervous system in times of stress.
First, let’s talk about how to actually perform diaphragmatic breathing. You’ll want to lie down on your back in a comfortable position, with a pillow under your head and knees, if you like. Place one palm on your chest, just below the base of your neck. Place the other palm on your belly, over your navel.
The idea is to have the hand on your chest stay still, while the hand on your belly moves as you inhale and exhale. This is breathing into your belly, and for most of us, it doesn’t come naturally.
Take a slow, deep inhale with your hands in position, attempting to breathe deeply into your belly, instead of breathing into your chest. This will move the hand on your belly up and down, but the hand on your chest should stay as still as possible.
This takes a while to become second nature, but is well worth learning because when you breath like this, you stimulate the vagus nerve. Stimulating the vagus nerve then activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to reverse stress and calm you.
Many people use diaphragmatic breathing just before bed, to help them relax and slip into a deep sleep. It’s easiest to learn the technique while lying down, and when you become confident in doing it lying down, move to performing this deep breathing while you’re seated.
When you’re eventually able to perform this breathing while seated, you can utilize this stress-reduction technique anywhere, at any time, and for any reason you deem necessary. You’ll have the skill to calm yourself in any situation that requires it, and you’ll no longer be a slave to the stress.
Learning how to breathe deeply and diaphragmatically will allow you to reduce the overall stress in your life, and you can pass this technique on to anyone you may feel needs to learn how to do this in their own life. You’ll be able to give others the gift of calming themselves, while you do the same.