Breathe In, Breathe Out
Relieving stress doesn’t always involve highly-complicated solutions. Something as simple as breathing in a different way can help reduce your stress response. It’s as simple as slowing and deepening your breaths in and out. Exercises like these have been shown to improve one’s heart rate, control blood pressure, make the arteries more flexible and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which tamps down the body’s fight-or-flight stress response.
Just changing the way you breathe can even result in a happier mood, or better sleep! According to Luciano Bernardi of the University of Italy, slow breathing activates areas in the brain connected with antidepressive activities. In one study, when people with insomnia practiced slow breathing for 20 minutes before bed, they woke up fewer times through the night. Deep breathing can lead to a healthier heart too! In another small study, slow-breathing sessions for 30 minutes a day reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension.