Take a deep breath. We often hear this tidbit of advice in the midst of a stressful situation, and it’s a valuable suggestion—the simple act of drawing a deep, full breath can be a big help in calming down. During your weight loss program in East Brunswick, you have access to one of the most powerful and easy-to-use stress reduction tools known to man: your own two lungs.
Because overwhelming stress can leave you too anxious to stick with healthy habits, stress management techniques like deep breathing can be an essential part of your weight loss program. Anyone, anywhere can use deep breathing to control stress, so it can be a big help to begin learning how to fully take advantage of this strategy.
The Benefits of Breathing Deeper
Every day, you take about 20,000 breaths, but most of them are not ideal. We tend to take shallow breaths that leave most of the lungs unfilled, and while this feels natural, it does not facilitate a full exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, nor does it provide all the blood vessels with oxygen. This literal shortness of breath can, therefore, leave us feeling anxious.
Deep breathing corrects this by completely filling the lower lungs with air as the muscular sheet known as the diaphragm descends to accommodate them. It provides the complete exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen and can actually slow your heart rate and control your blood pressure.
It’s easy to start using deep breathing to reduce stress during your weight loss program. Just follow these steps:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and relaxing area. Focus your attention on your breath and begin by breathing normally, then take a long, slow, deep breath through your nose. Try to completely fill your lungs and stomach with air, letting your abdomen expand.
- Alternate between deep breaths and normal breaths for a few minutes, paying close attention to the different ways that each one affects your body and your mind. Deep breaths should promote calm and relaxation, while shallow breaths will likely make you feel tense.
- Switch to only deep breaths. Place your hand beneath your navel, feeling your belly slowly rise and fall with your chest.
After using these steps to get better acquainted with diaphragmatic breathing, you can devote time to sessions focused exclusively on deep breathing. Spend 10 to 15 minutes drawing deep diaphragmatic breaths with your eyes closed, concentrating on your breath and the peaceful feelings it brings with it. You can also incorporate a mantra or peaceful visualization into your deep breathing practice.
Deep breathing may be simple, but it can help tremendously in reducing stress during your weight loss program in East Brunswick. If you have any other stress management techniques to recommend, share them with us in the comments below.