The bad news: stress is a reality. The pressure of life and work inevitably get to all of us. The good news: it doesn’t have to dominate our mind, mood, gut health, or manifest into road rage. It’s possible to cope with a stressful situation and/or prevent one from happening altogether. One way is to step away and just breathe. Breathe? Yes, indeed.

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Take one minute in the midst of the craziness to focus on your breathing rather than on the thoughts and to-do lists in your head. Our racing minds are the main source of our discontent, fear, and unhappiness; breath is neutral.

Breathwork offers a connection between the conscious and unconscious mind. Since breathing is the only thing we can do both consciously and unconsciously, breathwork is a way of influencing the involuntary nervous system and all the functions it controls. By imposing rhythms with the voluntary system, those are gradually induced in the involuntary system. Science is magical.

Simple Breathing Exercise

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Dr. Weil says this is “the most effective stress neutralizing measure” and “the most effective medical intervention” he’s ever found. Those are pretty significant claims! But, he says, the trick is practicing it with regularity.

It is recommended to do this breathing exercise two times each day. It will only take one minute, and luckily that is sometimes all you need to clear your head and center your thoughts.

Any body position is okay — seated, lying in bed, etc. If you are seated, try to keep your back straight and feet on the floor.

Steps

You can do the exercise more than two times per day if you want – there is no limit to the frequency. After 30 days, you may increase to eight breath cycles, but never do more than eight breaths at a time.

Make this exercise work for you. Practice it before you have a really important meeting or phone call, or use it after something makes you feel overwhelmed. Either way, it’s a lovely reset button.

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