personal deelopment and self empowerment

   Stress Breathing' Techniques

           Do NOT Take A Deep Breath

    Coaches and athletes understand the need to practice proper breathing habits to keep metabolism in balance. Those of us who have poor breathing habits can experience a drop in our body's energy by up to 85%. This is a significant decline in aerobic energy production.

   The physiological changes caused by poor breathing habits throws off our pH balance, the ratio of O2 to CO2 in the bloodstream, diminishes energy, and can create a feeling of anxiety or poor health in general. Although we naturally breathe automatically, over the course of our lifetimes we actually learn to breathe incorrectly.

   When we begin to feel stressed, we have a tendency to also begin breathing faster and shallowly. This reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in our blood causing blood vessels to constrict. This often leads to hyper-ventilation, throwing our metabolism completely out of balance!

    It's a behavior that can be unlearned given time and effort.

   So, first thing we need is to become aware of our breathing habits by actually listening to ourselves breathe. We need to count how many breaths we take per minute and if that number is much over 12 in a relaxed state, we need to think about how we can best re-learn to breathe normally.

   The "Breath In - Breath Out" Exercise

   The first step is to avoid holding your stomach in which prevents the diaphragm from working properly. Relax your stomach muscles and inhale slowly through your nose to a count of 3. Now hold that breathe for a second and then exhale to a count of 6. Repeat that three times and then allow yourself to breath normally. The entire exercise should take about 30 seconds.

   A good 70% of your body's waste is eliminated through exhaling. Attempting to double the time spent exhaling compared to inhaling allows your body to balance its metabolism and pH levels. It also increases the amount of energy produced. In stressful situations, your body will literally relax as you do it and your fight or flight response will quickly recede.

   As a quick fix, this type of breathing technique works wonders for calming yourself down, but does not address the larger issue of learning to breath this way all of the time. To do this, you need to remain aware of your breathing habits and continually remind yourself to stay in control of your breathing.

   If you condition yourself to breath properly, especially in stressful situations, you will alleviate the stress and anxiety of it and remain calm and rational. Good breathing habits are learned, so training yourself beginning today will get you back on track to a happier, healthier you!

   Over time, you will develop the the proper breathing technique, but meanwhile, you may need prompting.

   Consider this stress relief exercise

   Set a timer (for example on a digital watch) to beep every 3 to 5 minutes as a reminder to check your breathing. This helps because as we submerse ourselves into a given task, we can easily lose track of our breathing without realizing it.

   You may even find it helpful to repeat a phrase during your "breath in - breath out" practice like, "I'm breathing in", "I'm breathing out", to help you establish the proper rhythm. Your goal is to allow your body to take over automatically with proper breathing habits.

   Practice makes perfect - and you'll find that this is an excellent stress management technique.
Richard Rossbauer

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    Great works are performed not by strength,
                         but by perseverance
- Samuel Johnson
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