The way of life that prevails in societies like ours, Which strengthens competition and constant self-improvement, produces a great amount of stress on our body, which impairs our well-being and can lead to anxiety problems and even disorders. Breathing is one of the ways to control our mental activation and stress.
Breathing is one of the basic functions of the body which allows us to obtain the oxygen necessary for survival. This function can be hampered by the presence of stress or contextual elements that cause the development of accelerated patterns that impede the proper entry of oxygen into the body.
However, training for this function can go a long way in reducing the level of stress caused by environmental and social circumstances. by relaxation, decrease in problems of insomnia, hypertension, headaches, asthma, sexual dysfunction or phobias, In addition to helping to better control the perceptual process, the management of pain or other sensations produced by organic or mental causes.
Some effective breathing techniques
The following is a series of simple breathing exercises that can be performed to relax the body and mind.
1. Deep breathing
The easiest exercise to perform among those presented here. fundamentally it is used to reassure you after a stressful or stressful situation. It consists of taking air through the nose, keeping it in the lungs and finally letting it pass gently through the mouth. Each of the steps should take about four seconds.
2. Diaphragmatic / abdominal breathing
This exercise is also very simple. It is similar to the above, however in this case, the breathing will be abdominal. To do this, you need a place where you can be comfortable, preferably sitting or lying down. Breathe in through your nose first for about four seconds, holding the air inside you for a few seconds and pushing it out gently through your mouth. Long breaths are required, a high volume of air enters the body.
By putting one hand on the stomach and the other on the chest, it is possible to check whether the air is correctly transported to the intended areas. The hand on the chest should not move when inhaling, while the air should be felt when filling the belly.
This training results in parasympathetic control and a decrease in heart rate. It is recommended to try to generalize and automate this type of breathing in order to keep some control over arousal or the level of activation of the body.
3. Full breathing
This type of breathing combines deep and abdominal breathing in one technique. The process begins with the expulsion of all air from the lungs. Inhale slowly and deeply until you fill the abdomen first, to continue to breathe in until you also fill the lungs and chest in one inhalation. The air is held for a few seconds, then expelled orally and slowly first the chest, then the abdomen.
4. Alternate breathing through the nostrils or Nadi Shodhana
This technique generally applied in the world of yoga is based on the alternation between the nostrils during inhalation. First, one of the nostrils is covered, to take a deep breath through the free nostril. Once inhaled, the nasal passage through which the air entered is covered and the other is uncovered, through which the exhalation will take place.
Then the same procedure is repeated, this time starting with the nostril unlike the previous occasion (that is, for which the exhalation was performed). This technique seems to be effective in clearing the mind, activating those who practice it.
5. Fire breathing or Kapalabhati
Another yoga technique. The breathing exercise begins with a slow, deep inspiration, followed by a rapid, forced exhalation from the abdomen. The inhalation-exhalation rate is increased every two seconds to a total of ten breaths. It’s a very energizing breath, but some caution is advised as it can cause hyperventilation and abdominal pain. Therefore, it is not highly recommended for people with high anxiety.
6. Breathe to control anger
This type of exercise is particularly suitable in situations that make us angry., In order to control it. Since inhalation causes oxygen to flow into the body, and therefore energy, it may be desirable that in situations where we want to control our anger, we focus on exhaling, a process generally relaxing and anti-pressure.
For this exercise, you simply exhale with force, emptying your lungs as much as possible in a long, powerful exhale. After that, we inhale when our body needs it, to repeat the procedure until the feeling of pressure decreases.
7. Guided view
Used as a relaxation mechanism, this technique allows in particular mint tranquilization **** l. It is based on deep and steady breathing as the therapist or recording indicates the type of thoughts or images the individual is to imagine. It is usually about placing the person in a pleasant mental framework, which allows him to see his goals and to visualize them while achieving them. It is a technique also used in mindfulness.
8. Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation
It is a relaxation technique that includes the control of breathing and muscle tension. With closed eyes and a comfortable posture, one proceeds to maintain deep and regular breathing. Then a trip is made through all of the muscle groups in the body.
Each muscle group will be stretched in periods of three to ten seconds and then rest for between ten and thirty (the relaxation period is recommended to be three times that of the tension), doing sets of three repetitions.
The muscle relaxation process will begin at the most distal ends of the body, that is, the extremities and points furthest from the center of the body, up to the head. Thus, the tension relaxation routine for the feet will begin, to continue through the legs, buttocks, hands, arms, back, chest, neck, jaw and head.
This was done with some caution as it is common to have small cramps, dizziness, tingling, or hyperventilation (if you have it, it is recommended that you stop exercising), but this is a technique very useful even in clinical practice.
- Amutio, A. (2002) Stress Management Strategies: The Role of Relaxation. C. Med. Psicosom, n ° 62/63
- González, A. and I Amic, I. (2000), Immediate effects of training on progressive muscle relaxation on cardiovascular indices. Psychotheme, 12 years old.
- Shapiro, S .; Schwartz, G. and Bonner, G. (1999). Mindfulness-based stress reduction effects in medical and premedical students. Journal of Behavioral Med; 21: 581-599