Relaxation Through Regulated Breathing

Regulated breathing is both an aid to relaxation and getting rid of tension.

Two specific advantages of regulated breathing are:

    1.    It gives your body an extra shot of oxygen;

    2.    It gives you a specific moment to consider why you are beginning to experience a stress response.

This technique should be done when you are alone and in a quiet place.  One of the main objectives of this exercise is to allow to "get away from it all".  This should also be done whenever the effects of stress are likely to be the greatest.

To perform this technique effectively, practice the following:

    a.    Place yourself in a relaxed, comfortable position.  The best position is lying on your back with a pillow under both head and knees, but there are still beneficial effects to the process even if you are sitting in an easy chair.  The location you choose should be as quiet as possible, and free from other disturbances.

    b.    Using your nose, inhale a slow deep breath, to the slow count of 1, 2, 3.  This should completely fill your lungs.

    c.    Hold this breath for one full second and then slowly exhale to the same count of 1,2,3.  Breathe out through your mouth until your lungs are empty.

    d.    Count to three and then repeat these steps over and over.  This can be done for 10 to 15 minutes, one or two times a day.

    e.    Caution:  Be certain that the breathing is from the abdomen and not the chest.  (Your stomach should rise and fall with each breath).  Be certain not to breathe too quickly, hyperventilation is a possibility.

    f.    The key to regulated breathing is to create a rhythm which becomes almost automatic and will allow you to concentrate on relaxing and reducing tension.  This exercise can be especially helpful right before or after a stressful event.

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