Oftentimes when we are feeling stressed, our breaths can shorten, and our heart rate can elevate. This may lead to a magnified feeling of bodily claustrophobia or tension. Let’s relieve this tension by practicing a technique called diaphragmatic breathing. As you can tell from its name, this exercise uses the powerful breathing muscle above our belly to establish calm through long-lasting breaths.
Let’s begin. Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Close your eyes and take a few breaths through your nose. Notice how naturally, both your hands rise and fall as your body inhales and exhales. On this breath, inhale through your nose, and try and keep your chest from moving. Keep your shoulders still and grounded to the surface on which you lay. As you inhale, take the breath in through your belly, inflating it like a balloon. Visualize the breath entering your belly as your lungs become full with air. As you exhale, notice how your hand on your belly falls back down, while your hand sitting on your chest is still.
When you can feel stress mounting, perhaps in the form of tension or panicked breathing, play a soundtrack that relaxes you and practice this exercise for 3 minutes at a pace that you find comfortable. Care for others starts with care for yourself. Always take time to invest in your wellbeing!
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