Are you feeling stressed or tense? Well, self-aware, deep and slow breaths are the best way to release that stress and tension. It’s also a great way to help you relax before you sleep. Deep breaths initiate psychological changes in your body that improve relaxation, reduce muscle tension, slow breathing rate and heart rate, improve metabolism and reduce blood pressure.
Breathing practices can be as simple as taking slow inhales and exhales. You can do these regularly throughout the day or when you are feeling stressed or anxious. There are many other structured breathing exercises you can try out for the best results. These include the following.
4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
Sit down in a comfortable position with your eyes closed or open. Inhale deep breaths for 4 seconds then hold your breath for 7 seconds before exhaling slowly for 8 seconds. Repeat the breathing exercise a few times. Are you wondering how deep breathing allows your body to relax and promote better sleep? Well, once you take a deep inhale and hold your breath, you are increasing the oxygen levels in your body.
As such, it allows your body to work less hard to function. On the hand, a slow exhale is part of meditation that allows you to relax. The slow exhale is also similar to what your body does when you are about to fall asleep. Doing deep breaths before going to bed allows you to mimic breathing patterns right before you fall asleep. Simply put, you are nudging your body and mind towards the much-needed rest.
Take a minute to think about sucking on a lime, lemon, sour food or a teaspoonful of vinegar. Think about this hard such as how the smell, the taste and the sensation of the food will hit your throat. What happened? Did you have a physical reaction to the fantasy? Your mouth might have started watering or have your lips puckered. That’s the power of imagination and guided imagery. When you imagine something, your body will respond as if it’s actually happening in that specific moment.
Guided imagery is a technique that can be used to reduce stress and promote sleep. These exercises engage all your senses as you imagine something. It’s a great tool that helps connect the conscious and unconscious mind. It can be used to direct your body toward positive and more desirable responses. It can also be tailored and targeted to different goals including relieving mental and physical stress thereby reducing anxiety and promoting sleep.
Guided imagery is a great part of any routine before bed. When you do it before bed such as imagining floating in a calm ocean, being covered by a warm breeze or being rocked by gentle waves will help you separate your daily stresses and prepare your body to sleep. Guided imagery is available in different levels and ranges. You can try out visualizations to organize/targeted imaginative storytelling or scripts. You can also learn the technique on your own. Additionally, a practitioner or therapist can help you develop the best ways to pull it off.
It is a simple relaxation technique that allows you to become familiar with the various places in your body that hold stress and tension. It involves working with different muscle groups and areas in your body one by one. It involves tensing and relaxing them continually. It helps you understand what tension and relaxation feel in your body. With this knowledge, you will have a better idea of how to address the physical tension, emotional stress or mental stress that accompanies your body.
It can be used as part of your power-down routine at night. It allows you to release mental and physical tension that may interfere with sleep if not addressed properly. The best progressive relaxation routine begins at the lowest point of your body, your feet and works upwards to the top part of your head. You’ll be able to tense and relax every area of your body for the best results.
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