Did you know the key to reducing stress is as easy as breathing? Diaphragmatic breathing that is.
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As I have gotten further down the self-help rabbit hole I have found more neat tricks for reducing stress that I come here to share with you. The most recent being diaphragmatic breathing.
If you don’t know, your diaphragm is a respiratory muscle below your ribcage that is mostly responsible for helping you inhale. It contracts, allowing your lungs to fill up with as much air as possible.
As you do know, you mostly breathe without thinking about it unless it’s brought to your attention like during times of intense stress or exercise. When you do focus on your breathing you can use a diaphragmatic breathing exercise to strengthen that muscle and reduce stress and anxiety.
How I got introduced to diaphragmatic breathing.
Last week I wrote a post on meditating and I mentioned that I had joined Gabby Bernstein’s guided meditation challenge. And while I can’t tell you if it was in the meditation challenge or just while I was consuming more of Gabby’s amazing content, but one of those methods she talked about was breath of fire.
So breath of fire, as it was explained to me by Gabby is a method of breathing rapidly in and out through your nose using your diaphragm. And as these things do, I noticed a lack of posts on diaphragmatic breathing. Therefore, I am hopefully going to introduce you to a new technique on stress reduction!
Benefits of diaphragmatic breathing.
As stated, the diaphragm is a respiratory muscle that aids in inhalation and exhalation. But if you pay attention to your breathing, you may notice that you don’t always use your belly when you’re breathing. Using a diaphragmatic breathing exercise will help in the following ways.
- Helps you relax, lowers the harmful effects of stress hormone cortisol.
- Lowers your heart rate.
- It helps lower your blood pressure.
- Can help you cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Improve your core muscle stability.
- Improves your body’s ability to tolerate intense exercise.
- Lowers your chances of injuring or wearing out your muscles.
- Slows your rate of breathing so that it expends less energy.
Using diaphragmatic breathing is also stated to help with different health conditions. Conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety, and even sleeplessness, according to Healthline. A major reason for this is because of its ability to aid stress reduction, stress is a major factor in various different health conditions.
So how do you do it anyway?
When you have a moment alone, as in, no kids sticking their feet in your face (like in my TikTok video) take a seat somewhere comfortable. Straighten your back and shoulders and place one hand on your belly.
As you breathe in through your nose, focus on your stomach expanding and contracting. While you are holding your stomach take two seconds to inhale and exhale in succession. When you do this exercise rapidly that is most similar to the breath of fire that I referenced above.
You can do other things to aid you in your breathing exercises like rib stretching. You want to expend all of the air from your lungs so that you can intake new oxygen. These different exercises are designed to help you in diaphragmatic breathing.
How to use it to live more purposefully.
If you are a parent like myself, you know the stress I’m referring to. There’s something unique about having a small child to take care of that makes you feel like you can’t breathe most of the time. Whether it is because you’re trying to prevent them from running around like crazy and hurting themselves. Or when they’re older and you worry because that’s what parents do.
Either way, stress sucks. I have lived most of my life in stress and anxiety and that is why I have dedicated my life to reducing mine, and hopefully yours too.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, take a second to focus on your breathing. I do this while I am playing with my kids when things like bills pop into my head. And times when both of my kids just don’t seem to want to get along.
Taking a moment to breathe through the stress and (hopefully) minimize it can help you live more purposefully. Staying in the present moment does wonders for stress because in this very moment you have only to worry about this moment.
I hope that you found value in this today! If you did be sure to grab my Mindset Mastery Guide for 13 plus tips for the busy mom who wants to be more present with tier kids and less stressed as an adult. It’s possible!
And as always, here’s to your best life.