Quick Note: Just Breathe–Expectations vs. Reality

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Just breathe.

When I typically see or hear this phrase, I roll my eyes. If you feel the same way, I understand. But before you dismiss this thought as some “eat pray love” BS, hear me out.

When you’re feeling anxious, desperate, or up against a wall, sometimes the best thing to do is take a deep breath. And it’ll probably do you some good.

What Happens When You Breathe?

The physiological process of breathing is complex and fascinating. Besides the gas exchange of oxygen in and carbon dioxide out, deep breathing1 provides many benefits. It helps you cope when your body prepares for that fight-or-flight response and can keep you relaxed. Deep breathing from the abdomen also improves blood pressure and lowers your heart rate.

Try It

The next time you’re feeling wound up and stressed, don’t forget to take a few deep breaths:

  • Try to sit or lie down in a relaxed position.
  • Take a normal breath.
  • Then try a deep breath. Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your stomach expand.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth or nose, whichever feels more natural.

Try focusing on a mantra, word, or peaceful image during deep breathing. Make it a daily routine, adapting it in a way that works for you.

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