Deep breathing can help you manage stress
Think of deep breathing as a powerful, free tool that you can use to help reduce stress.
Stress is a part of everyone’s life. It can show up as positive stress like starting a new job or it can come as negative stress like unrealistic expectations at work. How a person handles the stress in their life can have an effect on their health.
Stress can affect a person physically in ways that may be exhibited as a headache, stomach ache, lack of sleep and exhaustion to name just a few. Stress can also affect a person mentally in ways that are exhibited such as sadness, depression and even anger.
Recognizing early signs of stress is important for a person to better manage it. Many times the early signs of stress are overlooked and stronger, more intense signs of stress are then displayed. If this stress continues to be ignored, the chance of health issues arising is increased.
Stress cannot be eliminated from life but being aware of it and taking steps to reduce it can be helpful in many ways. A tool that only takes a few minutes to use and is very powerful in helping to reduce stress is deep breathing. The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program delivered by Michigan State University Extension employs deep breathing in the following way:
“Take a deep breath in through your nose… two, three, four, five, six.
And now, breathe out slowly through your mouth… two, three, four, five, six.
And, slowly breathe in again… two, three, four, five, six.
And, breathe out through your mouth… two, three, four, five, six.
And again, slowly breathe in… two, three, four, five, six.
And breathe out through your mouth… two, three, four, five, six.
Continue breathing at your own pace. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do not force your breath in any way.
If your mind becomes distracted by thoughts, try to refocus on your breathing.
Continue breathing at your own pace for another minute.”
Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others. For more information on healthy lifestyles, please visit MSU Extension.