Breathing for Less Stress During the Holidays
During times of stress, you may start thinking about the future or looking back at moments of regret. The holidays can sometimes make this feeling worse, causing you to wonder whether you’re getting someone the right present or to worry about the New Year. Thankfully, everyone has the ability to do one thing that can help them at any moment: breathing.
Using your breath is a wonderful way of calming down stress and connecting with yourself. Conscious breathing can help you stay in the present, remember what matters, and take control of your emotions as the year winds to a close.
During those stressed-out moments, taking control of your breath can turn negative emotions into positive moments, releasing tension and calming your nerves. Here is how to breathe your way to less stress during this holiday season.
Two types of breathing
Before learning how to reduce stress through breathing, it’s important to know the different types of breathing.
- Chest breathing: This type of breathing is used mainly in moments of great exertion, such as weightlifting or running. During stressful moments, chest breathing may take over, which can lead to tight muscles and headaches.
- Diaphragmatic breathing: This is the type of breathing you want to learn. This breathing comes from the diaphragm, the main breathing muscle. By taking control of this muscle, you can make your feeling more effective and efficient.
How to breathe
Here is how to breathe through your diaphragm for less stress.
- Get comfortable, whether that is sitting in a soft chair or lying down. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- Breathe deeply through the nose, filling your abdomen. Then exhale and release as much air as possible back through your nose.
- As you breathe, place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest. Continue breathing and feel the air as it passes through you.
- Continue to breathe through your nose. As you settle in, begin to focus on helping your stomach to rise and fall. Essentially, make the hand on your stomach move more than the hand on your chest. As you breathe in, send the air down into your stomach, inflating your abdomen, then releasing the air back out.
- Continue this process for as long as needed.
Deep breathing not only calms stress, but also balances the automatic nervous system which may help relieve anxiety, depression and PTSD. If you feel like you still need more help with anxiety and stress during the holidays, the providers at Midwest Express Clinic are here to help. Check in online at your closest location to speak with a provider today