During times like these, everything can feel overwhelming. With heightened global attention on the COVID-19 virus, you may feel unsettled and anxious. This stress can affect not only your mind, but over time, it can impact your body and your immune system (or your body’s ability to cope with conditions). Therefore, one of the best things you can do for yourself right now is to focus on keeping calm.
One great and simple way to stay calm is to focus on your breathing. This is an ancient technique that can help lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and promote relaxation. Diaphragmatic breathing is a type of exercise where you consciously breathe deeply and from your diaphragm. It is often part of yoga and meditation practices. Deep breathing has many known benefits, such as:
- lowering heart rate
- lowering blood pressure
- lowering overall stress levels
How do you begin diaphragmatic breathing?
- Sit or lie in a position that is comfortable for you. Relax your muscles
- Place one hand on your upper chest and one hand on your stomach.
- Take a breath through your nose while counting to two. Feel your stomach expand.
- Purse your lips, focus on the hand on your stomach, and exhale while counting to two.
- Repeat these steps several times.