Want to know one of the most effective exercises in reducing pain and stress? Breathing.
Studies show that incorporating diaphragmatic breathing into a daily routine can reduce cortisol levels (reduce stress), improved sustained attention, and decrease negative affect. The problem that many of us have is that we do not properly engage our diaphragm when we breathe and rely on secondary muscles (“chest breathers”).
To properly engage the diaphragm you will want to lie on your back, rest your hand on your stomach, and take a big breath. When you inhale, your stomach should rise into your hand slowly.
The rate of breathing can depend on your lung capacity but it is recommended to inhale for 4 secs and exhale for 8 secs. When inhaling, breathe in through your nose. When exhaling, breathe out through your mouth – smell the roses and blow out the candles.
If you are someone who has been feeling overwhelmed or overly stressed, try taking 10-15mins a couple of times each day to perform some diaphragmatic breathing. The benefits can be immediate and you will soon find it becoming part of your daily routine!