Calm Down, Feel Better: A Lesson in Breathing

Learn a simple technique that can help you to stop living in a state of alert.

from Health...The Reader's Digest Version (Reader's Digest Association Books)

Calm© Hemera/Thinkstock
One of the first things Navy SEALs, military pilots, and bomb experts master is how to remain calm under pressure. Retired Army Lt. Col. David Grossman, who trains them, always includes a lesson in breathing.

The more excited or stressed you are, he explains, the quicker and shallower your respiration will be and the higher your blood pressure and heart rate will jump. Too many people live in this state of alert, which compromises physical and mental performance, in addition to health.

To begin changing how you breathe, do this:
Put your hand on your belly and breathe normally. You’ll probably notice that very little is happening down there. Now try letting your belly expand like a balloon as you inhale slowly through your nose, then let it deflate as you exhale. That’s how you should be breathing all the time. The additional oxygen will nourish every cell in your body and ease your stress.

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