The Baby Boomers Guide to Breathing Techniques To Eliminate Stress

The Baby Boomers Guide to Breathing Techniques To Eliminate Stress

Relax to Soothe the Mind

The majority of work-from-home employees today are spending most of their working day dealing with stressful virtual meeting, email alerts, online messages and other computer screen-based disruptions.

This additional online stress can affect the brain’s ability to focus and add day — to — day stress.

This can affect the overall physical health of the unsuspecting online at-home worker.

A quiet and soothing environment can help your mind to replenish and process information and also help you to relax, unwind and find relief from excessive stress.

The term “fight or flight” is known as the primary stress response. It’s what the body does as it prepares to confront or avoid danger.

When appropriately invoked, the stress helps us rise to many challenges.

Trouble starts when stress is caused by constant day-to-day virtual meetings, email alerts, phone calls online messages and other computer related screen-based disruptions.

Also money woes, traffic jams, job worries, or relationship problems add to stress..Health problems are often the result.

A prime example is hypertension or high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.

The stress also suppresses the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other illnesses.

Moreover, the buildup of stress can contribute to anxiety and depression.

We can’t avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to, but we can develop healthier ways of responding to them.

One way is to invoke a relaxation response, through a technique first developed in the 1970s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson.

The relaxation response is a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation.

Breath focus is a common feature of several techniques that evoke the relaxation response.

The first step is learning to breathe deeply.

Deep Breathing Benefits

Deep breathing also goes by the names of diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration.

When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises.

For many of us, deep breathing seems unnatural. There are several reasons for this.

For one, body image has a negative impact on respiration in our culture.

A flat stomach is considered attractive, so women (and men) tend to hold in their stomach muscles.

This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow “chest breathing” seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety (leading to stress).

Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm’s range of motion. The lowest part of the lungs doesn’t get a full share of oxygenated air.

That can make you feel short of breath and anxious.

Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide.

Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.

Practice Breathing

Breathing helps you to concentrate on slow, deep breathing and aids you in disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations.

It’s especially helpful if you tend to hold in your stomach.

First Steps: Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.

First, take a normal breath. Then try a deep breath:

Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs.

Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural).

Controlled Breathing

Once you’ve taken the steps above, you can move on to practice controlled breathing.

As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, blend deep breathing with helpful imagery and perhaps focus your mind on a word or phrase that will help you to relax.

My imagery, word or phrase that I focus on during practice breathing is lowering my stress and hypertension to help lower my blood pressure, and to one day, stop taking blood pressure medicine.

What is yours? “Ask and ye shall be given….. Seek and ye shall find”

“The Baby Boomer”

Additional Ways to Turn Down Stress

There are several additional techniques that can help you to reduce stress.

Breath focus helps with nearly all of them.

They are:

Progressive muscle relaxation

Mindfulness meditation

Yoga, tai chi, and Qi Gong

Repetitive prayer

Guided imagery

We will go over these additional stress reducing techniques in our next blog,

“The Baby Boomer”

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This is “The BABY BOOMERS GUIDE” a weekly compilation of workforce readiness, life preparation, start-a-business and self-help information for people over 50.

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Dana Greene

Dana Greene

This is “The BABY BOOMERS GUIDE” a weekly compilation of workforce readiness, life preparation, start-a-business and self-help information for people over 50.

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