30 second stress relief

Breath Deep

Time to get back to chaotic mornings and nightly circuses. Even if you were looking forward to your kids going back to school, the transition is tough.

Here’s a practice that will help you calm down quickly, any time of the year. Teach it to your kids too. They need to de-stress sometimes too. Anyone can benefit from it.

  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor with your back straight.  Or you can sit Indian style if you so choose.
  • Put one hand on your belly, the other on your chest.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, inhaling so that your belly expands, but your chest stays still.
  • Breathe out through your mouth for a count of 8, or until your belly is totally deflated – feeling your body relax. Imagine that you are exhaling negative energy.
  • For 30 seconds, concentrate on nothing but your breathing.

Why it works

Taking just a few seconds to step back breaks the cycle.

Breathing deep increases your oxygen flow; helping you relax and think more clearly.

Imagining releasing negative energy is like a mini meditation.

You can do it almost anywhere.

Why breathe out for so long?

When we think of deep breathing, we naturally think of filling our lungs. And when we’re stressed, we often breathe in. But we never take the time to properly exhale. Its kind of the missing piece. Think of it as the release valve.

According to Breathing Specialist Betsy

Because most people are busy taking an in-breath, they do not pay much attention to the exhale process. Without exhaling completely, excess carbon dioxide — a known stressor in your nervous system — may remain in your lungs. The system detects that there is too much carbon dioxide and not enough oxygen. Then, it does the only thing it knows how to do: ask for more oxygen, causing another inhale. Since the lungs are still partially filled with carbon dioxide, not as much oxygen can get in. A cycle is set in motion and you keep inhaling for more oxygen, but can’t get enough because the lungs have not been properly emptied. This habit can lead to shallow breathing and holding your breath.

Do you ever catch yourself holding your breath? I know I do.

Deep breathing also reduces the build up of cortisol – the stress hormone.

OK, I know you’re busy. I’ll let you go now. Don’t forget to breathe!


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2 thoughts on “30 second stress relief

  1. Scotsgal

    Thank you Carole, for this interesting post. A former sceptic, I have recently discovered meditation and find it really works for me. I now have a phone app which offers meditation to suit different concerns, flying, focusing, sleeping, etc. and I am quite sure that meditation has helped me sleep, and only a few days ago was great when I had to take a long-haul flight.
    I felt revived and relaxed after trying this exercise, and I would encourage everyone to give it a go.

  2. Carole Post author

    Thanks Fiona I know mediation is helpful, but making myself do it has been a problem. This little exercise is easy to do anywhere!

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