It has been shown that breathing exercises used to help with relaxation can have beneficial effects on overall health (Hoge, Guidos, Mete, Bui, Pollack, Simon, & Dutton 2017) A guided relaxation exercise with a focus on the breath allows us to relax our body, reducing anxiety, tension, and stress. It has also been shown to decrease Post-traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms in military veterans (Seppala, Nitschke, Tudorascu, Hayes, Goldstein, Nguyen, Perlman, & Davidson 2014).
Breathing is a great way to relax and increase our awareness. Developing a “breathing awareness” will not only allow us to relax now, but it can also help us to stay calm and focused during stressful situations.
To get a full, deep breath, close your mouth, breathe slowly through your nose, and feel your diaphragm rise as you gradually fill your diaphragm and lungs with air. Hold for one second. Exhale through your nose slowly. Repeat.
Mind/Body exercises are also exercises that involve movements/poses while focusing energy on form and breath. Some examples of these mind/body exercises are yoga, Pilates, and gyrotonics. These types of mind/body exercises allow a focused mental energy on the body, its form and its function. Gyrotonics is a type of exercise that includes movements from other types of exercise such as yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming and tai chi.
Allowing time in our schedule to learn breathing, relaxation, and other mind/body exercises such as yoga or pilates will foster a healthy relationship with our mental and physical self. This relationship can often help to promote a sense of overall well-being.