When we are stressed, we usually breathe faster and less deeply. In extreme cases, some people can even suffer from hyperventilation. To relax yourself, abdominal breathing can help a lot. What is it and how to do it?
When we breathe with our chest, to get air into the lungs, the muscles between the ribs contract, causing the chest to rise and expand. During abdominal breathing, the diaphragm moves downward and the space in the chest cavity expands. Then the air is drawn into the lungs. In this way of breathing, the abdomen expands slightly as the organs are pushed forward.
Abdominal breathing requires less effort than chest breathing. In addition, it has a calming effect.
How does abdominal breathing work?
- sit or lie down comfortably.
- put a hand on the stomach and feel it rise and fall.
- breathe in through the nose and let the belly swell, feel the breath push against the hand.
- breathe out calmly and feel the stomach recede under the hand: no need to monitor the breathing, just the movement of the abdomen.
- try to exhale longer than the inhales, wait a moment before inhaling again.
Practice these sessions for about five minutes, several times a day, even without placing your hand on your stomach. Gradually, adopt abdominal breathing while reading, working on the computer, browsing your smartphone, watching a movie, during a meeting or an exam… all occasions are favorable.
Born in London, England and raised in Orlando, FL, Elena graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelors’ degree in Health Sciences. She later received her masters’ in Creative Writing from Drexel University. She writes part-time for the Scientific Origin and focuses mostly on health related issues.