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IMGCA Article - Stress Management


Better Breathing Equals Less Stress

Stephen White

Meditation is one of the best, and quite natural, ways to relieve stress. If you like, you can accompany this with breathing techniques as well. This will help you to achieve a sense of serenity but it can take quite a lot of time before you are able to zone out easily.

1. Meditation

When meditating, it is generally best to find a nice quiet, comfortable space to meditate. Buddhists use meditation to reach a state of enlightenment and many Jewish prayers are meditative in nature. Even many Christian religions utilize forms of meditation, such as the use of rosary beads n Catholicism. Meditation does not, Of course, have to be about a spiritual or religious journey. Meditation is even used in professional medical communities.

2. Natural Stress Relief

Meditation is natural stress relief at its best. There are no strict rules regarding body positioning when meditating, but most people who use meditation as a form of natural stress relief prefer to do so in the lotus position. The lotus position involves sitting with the legs crossed while keeping the back straight and the shoulders level. Yet other practitioners prefer to sit comfortably, but with the legs uncrossed. No matter the general position chosen when using meditation for natural stress relief, it is best to keep the spine straight throughout the meditation process. This position encourages circulation and makes it easier to breathe in the deep, slow fashion that is often necessary for meditation.

3. Block Out Negative Thoughts

After finding a quiet place to perform meditation, and after assuming a position that is comfortable, it is time to begin this process of natural stress relief. Some people prefer to remain quiet while meditating. Still others close their eyes and hum or make other repetitive noises to help clear their minds and to block out thoughts and outside noises.

4. Imaging Techniques

In fact, meditation is used often in hospitals with patients suffering from chronic or terminal illness to reduce stress. This is especially important because stress has been shown to contribute to poor health. A 1999 report by neurophysiologist Dr. James Austin from the University of Colorado stated that meditation actually reprograms brain circuitry. His findings were later confirmed using imaging techniques that view electrical activity in the brain.

5. Breathing Techniques

If you plan on breathing easier, you will want to organize your thoughts before you begin. One popular method is to focus on each individual part of the body. Give your self permission to relax until your entire body is relaxed. At the same time, this method calls for taking a few deep breaths. These are called cleansing breaths because they help clear the mind and bring a little extra oxygen into the blood. The best masters of meditation are able to hold their breath for several minutes from strength of will alone.

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