Control your breathing and you’ll be amazed!

Have you been aware of your breathing since you had a stroke? Do you ever pay attention to your breath? I wasn’t concerned about my breathing. I knew I was breathing because I was alive! I still believe that the statement is true. I have realized that when I am conscious of the quality of my breaths and I do one of the breathing exercises, my day goes better!

Try this little exercise. It works for the United States Navy SEALs and it will work for YOU! It’s called box breathing and it is a time-honored stress-reducing breathing technique. Also, it is referred to as square breathing. It helps you slow down your breathing. It works by distracting your mind and calming your nervous system.  

Breath as you would normally for a minute. Notice your chest & stomach as the rise and fall of your breath. You are shallow breathing if you see that your chest is rising but your stomach is not. If your stomach is rising, you are deep breathing. This activates your full relaxation. Do these 6 steps:

Step 1: Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.

Step 2: Inhale for 4 seconds.

Step 3: Hold your breath in your lungs for 4 seconds.

Step 4: Exhale for 4 seconds; making sure to empty all of the air in your lungs.

Step 5: Hold your lungs empty for 4 seconds.

Step 6: Repeat for at least a minute (up to five minutes) so you feel refocused and relaxed.

Box breathing can help you cope with panic and stress when feeling overwhelmed. Counting enables you to handle and control your response. You use it to combat insomnia. Try it when you want to be calm while preparing for the day. It also helps you make a big decision, it lowers your blood pressure and decreases cortisol, a stress hormone, & it improves your mood.

Here are some tricks if you finding some difficulty with this exercise. If you discover it is too much, you can start with 2 or 3 seconds to start. Silently count to yourself. Make sure you are comfortable. It’s easy and simple to do this short exercise every day. 


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