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Take a deep breathe!

Posted May 20 2009 10:12am

Breathe in… and out. One more time. A nice deep breath in… and gently exhale. Doesn’t that feel good?

Breathing is something that we take for granted. It happens all day and all night often without any effort or conscious awareness. A normal respiratory rate for an adult is between 12 – 20 breaths per minute. That is somewhere between 17,000 and 29,000 breaths per day!

Do you know that focused breathing exercises can help you relax your body and mind? Try this simple yet effective exercise. Count your breaths. Start with an exhalation and count 1. Next time you exhale count 2. Repeat this up to 5. Keep your attention on your breath and the counting. Repeat as many times as you are comfortable with. You can take just a few minutes and you will feel more relaxed and centered. You can do this several times a day to help you stay relaxed, calm, and focused.

You might also try some deep diaphragmatic breathing. Place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Breathe normally. If the hand on your chest moves more as you breathe, you are breathing shallowly. Try exhaling fully and then taking a nice deep breath in. You should now notice the hand on your belly moving more. This is deep diaphragmatic breathing! Practice this several times a day. The more you practice, the quicker you will retrain your body to do this type of breathing regularly and the more relaxed you will be.

Research has shown that simple breathing exercises like these can reduce stress and anxiety as well as increase relaxation by calming the autonomic nervous system.

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