May 07, 2020
Breathe in, breath out. Inhale, hold and exhale.
It may sound quite easy but many find it difficult to put it into practice while feeling stressed or anxious. In the current environment with countries placed under COVID-19 lockdown and everyone having to stay home, stress and anxiety levels may increase.
Social distancing is the need of the hour but at the same time, it is essential to maintain a healthy mental well-being. For that, breathing exercises or techniques need to be practiced everyday. These are simple exercises that won’t take more than a few minutes of your time but will have a long-lasting effect on your physical and mental health. At the end of the day, we all want to get through the COVID-19 lockdown with a positive spirit, right?
#1 Pursed Lip Breathing
This exercise helps to slow down your breathing. It’s simple and can be done anytime - whether you are sitting down, walking up a flight of stairs or lifting an object. Start with relaxing your neck and shoulders and taking in a deep breath for two counts. Purse your lips and make a small ‘o’ (like you are about to whistle). While breathing out, slow down your pace and count till four. Do this exercise for 5 minutes, 2-3 times a day.
Ever been so stressed or anxious that feel like your heart will jump out of your chest? Seems to be a common feeling that people are experiencing during the COVID-19 lockdown. Abdominal breathing is a great technique that helps to bring that negative feeling under control. Find a quiet spot to sit or lie down and start with placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath and let it fill up your abdomen. Count till 5 and slowly exhale. Do this for 10 minutes everyday and you will notice that it improves your heart rate, reduces blood pressure and greatly help in dealing with stress levels.
This technique has proven to improve an individual’s cardiovascular health and overall well-being as well as make the person more mindful and aware of the present. Find a comfortable and peaceful space to do this exercise and sit down (keep your back straight and neck and shoulders relaxed). Hold out your dominant hand out and press your index and middle fingers to your palm while the other three fingers remain stretched out. Close your eyes and press down your thumb on the outside of your right nostril and take a deep breath through your left nostril. Now, press down your ring finger on your left nostril, release your thumb and exhale from your right side. Repeat this but this time, first inhale from your right nostril and exhale from your left. Practice this for 10 minutes everyday.
P.S. - It is best to practice this breathing exercise on an empty stomach.
As the name suggests, this technique is all about letting go of the tense feeling in your muscles and to relax during home quarantine. For this, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. This breathing exercise follows a count of 4-7-8. Count till 4 while inhaling, hold your breath for 7 counts and then count till 8 to completely let go of that breath. While practicing this technique, focus on each joint and muscle and loosen them up as your continue breathing in and breathing out. Eventually, you may even dose off to sleep and that’s a win!
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