If stress or anxiety makes your heart race, taking steps to control your breathing can be a simple and powerful way to help soothe your body. One example is 4-4-8 breathing: Take a breath in for four counts, hold your breath for four counts and then exhale for eight counts. Repeat. With practice, they can become a normal part of your response to stress and anxiety.
Another method of breath work is Controlled Breathing.
Take a deep breath, expanding your belly. Pause. Exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat four times. This helps to calm your central nervous system.
Controlled breathing, has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. Buddha advocated breath-meditation to reach enlightenment.
Science is beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and attention deficit disorder.
Practice daily or more regularly to see real benefits.
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