Zap Stress with Deep Breathing
by Steve Gordon
Co-Founder of Sequoia Records, Composer and Producer of Award-Winning Meditation Music
Stressful situations can really make you feel helpless. Once you find yourself in one, there seems to be nothing you can do to stop yourself from becoming tense, your muscles tightening, and then your mind starts adding lots of negative thoughts to the mix.
Not only is it very unpleasant to feel this way, it also is very bad for your heart and your entire immune system. Plus it reduces your ability to be creative and to respond to challenges in the most responsive way.
But actually stress is not something that happens all in one instant. It builds up in our body after many things trigger us over and over again throughout a day.
The trick is to zap stress right as it starts. The best way to do that is with deep breathing. It may seem simple, because it is but deep breathing can have a profound effect on your health and well-being. It has been the key to yoga and meditation for thousands of years.
When you take full deep breaths, it keeps your entire stomach, chest, shoulders and back from tensing and becoming stiff.
The first thing that happens when people feel stress is their breathing becomes short and shallow. By breathing deeply when you feel tense, you can stop this from happening.
Here is how to do effective deep breathing:
Breathe into your stomach so your stomach extends and becomes full.
Then let the air fill your chest so your chest becomes full and your shoulders go down and back.
Let the air out completely. As you let the air out relax your shoulders and stomach so they are soft and loose.
Breathe slowly yet naturally.
Do not breathe too fast or you will get too much air and feel light headed. Don’t breathe too slowly either where you end up taking in air too fast on the inhale.
Just breathe at a natural slow rate that feels right to you.
As you do this for a few minutes you will start to feel your muscles in your shoulders and chest start to loosen and your stomach will become soft.
This best thing about deep breathing is that you can do it at any time in any place. If you make it a habit to breath deeply when you feel stress you will be able to stay much more relaxed in any situation and your heart and immune system will be more protected from negative effects of stress.
Not only will you be healthier, sleep better and feel more relaxed, when you are in this state of being you will find it much easier to meet the day with enthusiasm and be positive. When you are relaxed it’s much easier to be the person you really want to be.
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Beth Shaw of YogaFit uses a lot of the “Gordon” boys music in her compilations of YogaFit CDs. Its all good!