When we’re stressed, breathing can be one of the first physiological responses to suffer. Our body enters panic mode and our breathing becomes fast, preparing us for fight or flight. When stressors are constant – deadlines, never-ending emails – they can affect our breathing long term.
Breathing into your stomach is the fastest way to calm down and think clearly, whether you’re in a panic or just have very big butterflies in your stomach. Inhale right down into your stomach – rather than just expanding your chest. This immediately calms the nerves and helps you focus.
If you can’t fall asleep, place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Breathe slowly and steadily into your stomach, feeling it rise. Make your exhale longer than your inhale to relax the body and calm the mind.
When we’re in pain, we start to panic and our breathing becomes ragged, which makes our body react more. Fear and stress add to our pain, making it overwhelming. But if you can calm your breathing, you’ll reduce the panic – and the pain.
Words by: Emma Clifton