You can literally breathe your stress away. Belly breathing allows more air into your body which can help you relax and lower stress and anxiety.
There are multiple benefits to belly breathing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of American adults experience high blood pressure, or hypertension. Hypertension significantly increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, which are two leading causes of death in the United States. From diet to mental health concerns, there are a wide variety of factors that contribute to high blood pressure.
Doctors often treat hypertension with medication. While not a cure on its own, deep breathing can play a role in reducing blood pressure. Here’s a few ways to practice it:
Find a comfortable position either sitting or lying down
Place one hand over your heart and the other over your stomach
Breathe in through your nose and let the air fill your belly as you count to four. Notice how the hand on your belly moves while the other one on your heart should stay still
Draw your belly button toward your spine as you exhale through your mouth and count to eight. Feel as the hand on your stomach retreats back
Repeat breathing steps 3-5 times
After your last round, breathe naturally and notice how you feel
For belly breathing to be most effective, you can’t just do it every once in a while. Incorporate it into your routine and commit to at least 10 minutes a day. If you can do it twice a day, even better!