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Breathe Your Way to Stress Relief

Life is stressful. Right?

The one strategy I have found that is most helpful is to incorporate belly or diaphragmatic breathing into my essential oil practice. This has become my go to practice not only when I am feeling rushed, panicked or stressed, but also several times a day as a method to avoid any of those emotional feelings.

I always try to apply a bit of Restful Blend or Reassuring Blend behind my ears or below my nose before starting my breathing.

Then,first be sure you are sitting in an erect upright position. Then bring one hand above your belly button and one hand at your heart. Close your eyes and take a few deep, full breaths, allowing your hands to move out and up slightly with the inhale and move back in with the exhale.

Focusing only on the movement of your breath will help to stay in a healthy breath pattern. When the diaphragm moves naturally with your breath, a lot of seemingly magical things happen.

Here are just some of the benefits of belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing from a physiological perspective.

1) Helps Our Respiratory System to Work Most Efficiently With poor breathing habits, gas exchange is not efficient. This means that our cells are not getting the nutrients they need at the best rate. When trillions of cells are not happy, we can feel unhappy, with lethargy and brain fog in the short term, along with chronic health problems in the long term. Retraining ourselves to breathe with the diaphragm more can lead to natural vitality and well-being.

2.) Stimulates the Relaxation Response The “relaxation response” refers to the turning on of the parasympathetic nervous system. This also turns off the overactive sympathetic nervous system (a.k.a fight or flight, or the “stress response”). Deep breaths are our only access to this autonomic nervous system, which automatically makes our heart beat and food digest most efficiently.

  • Go ahead and try it now: This time, put both hands right above your belly button near your lower ribs and diaphragm. Take 5 deep breaths with a 3-second inhale and 6-second exhale. Feel the movement under your hands. Do you feel the profound difference from that simple exercise?

3.) Relieves Pain By using breathing techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, we can help relieve pain in the short term and lower the likelihood of flares in the long term.

4.) Gently Stretches and Tones Core Muscles, and Pelvic Floor The core muscles mainly include the abdominals, erector back muscles (the muscles that keep us tall and erect), diaphragm, and pelvic floor. When we breathe, that natural three-dimensional movement of the body helps keep the muscles in the area healthy.

5.) Improves Posture In order to do diaphragmatic breathing properly, you have to sit tall. This allows all of your organ systems to work more efficiently. You digest your food better, your heart pumps more efficiently, your nerves and blood vessels are less likely to get pinched, and you actually release more hormones that make you feel more confident.

With all of your systems working better, you will feel more confident and focused. So what are you waiting for? Try practicing deep, diaphragmatic breathing several times during the day and you'll reap all these wonderful benefits for your body. Breathe well Friend!