Breathing Your Way to Better Health

Would you like a simple way to gain more energy, focus, and peace?  Read on for six simple tips…

Happy Caregiver Appreciation Day!  In honor of everyone who is caring for a pet, a loved one, or learning to take better care of self, here are something you can do anywhere to improve your life.  The best part of this post is that all these ideas are free!

The benefits of controlled breathing:

Controlled breathing can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, help with anxiety, and increase health. As a parent or caregiver, life can get chaotic, harried, overwhelming, draining, and stressful. Some of the most exciting benefits of controlled breathing are that breathing is free, does not necessitate a prescription, and can be done anywhere. Since I am not a physician or a health care practitioner, please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise that is mentioned on this blog.

Breathing exercises were first introduced to me over twenty years ago, by a woman named Mary. I lost touch with her when I moved, but admired her so much that I kept all the little pieces of paper she gave me in a brown folder. When I began trying to change some lifestyle habits, at the beginning of this year, I was reminded of many of Mary’s helpful hints. After a trip to the grocery store yesterday, I pulled out the dusty brown folder and began typing some of these ideas for all our readers.

My wish is that these ideas will benefit many of you in the caregiving community. Today’s concept of deep breathing, along with the page on juicing, are new material that I never handed out in my groups before.

Breathing techniques:

Have you tried deep breathing before? If so, please let me know which of these tips are your favorites. I would also love to know which techniques you use that are not on the following list. Without any further introduction, let’s jump into some breathing techniques…

A beginner breathing technique-

Inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of four. As you get more advanced, inhale for a count of six or eight and exhale the same amount of counts. This beginner technique is great to help you go to sleep, reduce stress, calm your nervous system, and take your mind off your racing thoughts.

 

Breathing to release muscle tension-

With your eyes closed, breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth as you tense and release each muscle group. Start by tensing your feet and toes, then move up your body as you tense and release each group. For the best results, breathe in through your nose and hold your breath for five seconds while tensing a particular muscle group. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth as you release the tightened muscle group. You can try this exercise, in your bed, at night. Inhale and tightened. Exhale and release.

 

Breathing to reduce heart rate and blood pressure before a stressful event-

Prior to a test or a dreaded function, place one hand on your chest and another hand on your stomach. Breathe deeply through your nose as your stomach inflates (not your chest). When you exhale, bring your stomach in, trying to get it close to your spine. Try to get in six to ten breaths per minute for ten minutes.

A morning breathing exercise to boost your mood and energy level-

Inhale very slowly through your nose.  Then exhale, also through your nose, quickly and deeply from your lower stomach. As you get better at this exercise, increase the pace to one inhale-exhale combination per second for a total of ten. Do not ever let yourself get winded or light headed.  Start very slowly and carefully with these exercises and gradually increase to the more difficult level.

 

Breathing to focus and energize-

As with the previous exercise, do not try this technique before bedtime.  This procedure is for better focus and improved energy, so use this method in the morning or early afternoon.  Hold your right thumb over your right nostril and breathe deeply through your left nostril. As you hit the peak of inhalation, place your middle finger over your left nostril and exhale deeply through your right nostril. Alternate this breathing pattern from nostril to nostril.

 

Walking while breathing through pursed lips-

One way to breathe slowly, and restore oxygen to your body while walking, is to breathe through pursed lips. With your lips pursed, inhale through your nose. Exhale slowly and normally through your pursed lips. Make sure your exhale is twice as long as your inhale.

 

Pass along the information to other caregivers.

Do you know someone who could use some simple tips for stress reduction and better health?

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3 thoughts on “Breathing Your Way to Better Health”

  1. Those are some wonderful techniques to try. I have tried one or two before and they tend to work well. Thank you for reminding me of the proper steps to the breathing. Great blog again!

  2. I used your breathing technique, going to a doctor’s appointment this morning, in the thick traffic. I also used it in the doctor’s office while waiting. This really works and my blood pressure was normal. These breathing techniques really work. Great for blood pressure and traffic jams. Thanks again for wonderful advice. I love your wonderful advice and blog. Keep up the great blog!

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