How to breathe to reduce stress

How to breathe for optimal health:

The first step to becoming mindful is learning how to breathe properly! Stomach breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a basic technique that helps center individuals. The diaphragmatic is the dome-shaped muscle between the lungs and the abdomen. This type of breathing involves fully using the muscle to inhale and exhale. As one inhales, the diaphragmatic muscle lowers, the lungs expand, and the abdomen moves outward (like blowing air into a balloon). As one exhales, the diaphragmatic muscle rises, the lungs relax, and the abdomen moves back inward (sucking the tummy in).

Benefits of breathing correctly:

People with demanding jobs and stressful lives usually use the upper part of their lungs for breathing, which isn’t beneficial. This type of “chest breathing” tends to be very quick and shallow, whereas “stomach breathing” is more profound, fuller, and more beneficial for the entire body ( It opens the blood vessels found deep in the lungs, allowing more space for oxygen to enter the blood and improving concentration and mental capacity (Robinson, Segal, and Smith 2014). Diaphragmatic breathing helps to relax the nervous system, detoxifies organs, aid circulation, and builds stamina — heightening our sense of well-being (Robinson, Segal, and Smith, 2014).

How to practice Diaphragmatic Breathing at home:

Lie on your back and place your right palm on the center of your chest and your left palm on the abdomen. Keep the right hand still on the inhalation and focus on the left hand rising. On the exhalation, focus on the left-hand lowering.

To practice breathing, counting slowly for four to seven seconds when inhaling and exhaling is recommended. This technique helps your mind to focus on the breathing exercise instead of wandering off. 

Final thoughts:

Not only does stomach breathing provide oxygen to our organs, but it’s the secret ingredient to creating mental space between our thoughts and the situation in from of us (mind over matter). Breathwork is extremely powerful and life-changing for all ages, especially when confronted with mixed emotions, such as anxiety, stress, anger, fear, hyperactivity, etc. 

Once you begin to breathe correctly, the mind will instantly slow down and become calm, causing the body to relax. Imagine how much more productive you’ll become once you’ve mastered breathing! 

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Michelle Enriquez

Michelle Enriquez

Your Local Latina Mindfulness Strategist

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