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Under stress? Just breathe...

Don't let stress get you.
Don't let stress get you.
Photo courtesy of Bob Smith/stock.xchng

Breathing is something we do every minute of every day from the time we're born until the day we die. It's also the most important thing we do. If we didn't breathe, we couldn't live.

For something so essential to our life, we spend almost no time thinking about it. It's automatic. It happens without us even being aware of it.

But, what about the quality of our breathing? When people are busy, stressed, and preoccupied; and filling every waking moment with countless things on a to-do list, breathing can suffer. People who are stressed take shallow breaths. Consequently, people who aren't taking the time to really breathe, can feel anxious, rushed and unable to relax.

Try to take a few minutes everyday to just breathe. Sit in a quiet place. Still your mind and focus on breath. Inhale slowly and really feel the air fill your lungs. Feel your ribcage expand. Then slowly blow the air out. All the way out. Notice how you feel as you slowly, mindfully, just breathe. 

You might notice that your entire body starts to relax. Tension in your muscles will begin to ease, and you will become aware of where you hold tension in your body, just by feeling those areas slowly release.

If you can spend a few minutes everyday just concentrating on breathing, it's possible to break the "stress cycle", and teach yourself to relax.