There is no denying our mind and body are fully connected.
When we feel anxious and stressed we frequently experience non-specific aches, pains and tightness in the body.
Here’s an easy breathing technique to relieve stress and generally improve your mood.
Box or Four-Point Breathing is used frequently by athletes and people who work in stressful and first response situations – police officers, armed forces, nurses etc.
This can be done anywhere and just a few minutes of breathing will produce benefits.
To begin, sit or lie down in a comfortable, stable position. If comfortable, place your left hand on your tummy, right hand on your chest.
(1) Take a deep slow breath in counting to 4. Fill the tummy then fill the chest.
(2) Softly hold for a count of 4
(3) Exhale slowly over a count of 4, first from the chest then from the tummy.
(4) Softly hold for a count of 4.
Why does this help?
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is evidence that when we intentionally breath deeply we can actually calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system. This in turn regulates involuntary body functions such as temperature. This technique can lower blood pressure and provide an instant sense of calm.
The slow holding of breath allows CO2 to build up in our blood. An increased blood CO2 enhances the cardio-inhibitory response of the vagus nerve when you exhale and stimulates your parasympathetic system. This produces the feeling of relaxation and calm that we experience in the body and mind.