Easiest Way to Reduce Anxiety and Stress: Breathe!

If you are stressed out or overwhelmed, use this inexpensive, instant remedy: Your Breath.  Simply stop what you are doing and breathe deeply (through your nose) for 20 seconds and see how you feel.  Personal experience and tons of research show that conscious breathing aids relaxation and can improve health!  It takes a little practice, but it’s worthwhile.  Consider this:

According to wellness guru Andrew Weil, M.D., “Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”

How could this be true? A Yoga Journal article by yogi and author Richard Rosen, states that by slowing and regulating the breath we engage our parasympathetic nervous system, a complex biological mechanism that calms and soothes us. He continues to explain that in stressful times, we typically breathe too rapidly. This leads to a buildup of oxygen in the bloodstream and a corresponding decrease in the relative amount of carbon dioxide, which in turn upsets the ideal pH level of the blood.  This creates a condition known as respiratory alkalosis that can result in muscle twitching, nausea, irritability, light-headedness, confusion, and anxiety.

In contrast, slowing the breath raises the carbon dioxide level in the blood, which nudges the pH level back to a less alkaline state. As the blood’s pH changes, the parasympathetic nervous system calms us in a variety of ways, including the secretion of acetylcholine by the vagus nerve, a substance that lowers our heart rate.

Guess what else? 70% of waste is eliminated through your lungs!  According to the Tao of Breathing by Dennis Lewis, 70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs and the rest through the urine, skin and feces. When  our lung efficiency is reduced by poor breathing, less oxygen is available to our cells, which slows down the flow of blood carrying wastes from the kidneys and lungs. Our lymphatic system which fights off viral and bacterial invaders is weakened along with a slower digestive process. Visit his site  http://www.authentic-breathing.com/  for more information.

RESOURCES: So if you want to give conscious breathing a try, here are some resources to help you with better, healthy breathing:

Dr. Weil has a free guide to breathing on his site or you can get a PDF  of it http___www_drweil_com_three-breathing-exercises_html of it by clicking this link. 

Another terrific tool for assisting with mindful breathing is BreatheText.com.  http://breathetext.com/ The site will send you a ringtone once a day that will remind you to breathe few deep, cleansing breaths. You can also follow @Breathetext on Twitter.

And if you are really into breathing, you can attend a workshop at the Power of Breath Institute in New Hampshire.  Check out their site http://www.authentic-breathing.com for training and certification programs.

If you do nothing else, most importantly, as the Anna Nalick song says, “Just breathe.”

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Date: Thursday, 8. April 2010 14:22
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