Over-worked, under-slept, and feeling pressure like whoa? There are plenty of ways to find calm—without investing in a 90-minute massage. Turns out all you need is a pair of healthy lungs, your breath, and 10 minutes or less. Here are six expert-approved ways to relax using breathing techniques borrowed from yoga, meditation, and even the therapist’s chair.
Don’t wait until fight-or-flight kicks in before minding the breath. Controlled breathing not only keeps your mind and body functioning at their best, it can also lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and help you de-stress. While the effects of breathing techniques on anxiety haven’t been studied at length (at least in a controlled clinical setting), many experts encourage using the breath as a means of increasing awareness, mindfulness, or—for the yogis among us—finding that elusive state of Zen. To get to the bottom of the breath work, Greatist spoke to breathing expert Dr. Alison McConnell, yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco, and psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer. But follow closely: Easy breathing isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.
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