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Conscious Breathing for Stress Relief
by Rich Davis

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Conscious Breathing for Stress Relief

Stress is the bodies Fight or Flight reaction to external events. A saber tooth tiger walks up. Fight or flight was our only option. Either you ran away or you got eaten. No doubt, no ambiguity, just action. It's easy to imagine how our body's rapid and automatic switch into "high gear" helps us deal with the immediate threat of the saber tooth tiger. You need the immediate energy, speed, concentration, and agility to react to the situation.

Stress causes the body to release adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts your energy supply. Cortisol increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances the brains ability to use the glucose and increases the substances that repair tissues. It also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight or flight situation. The body becomes a lean, mean fight or flight machine. The threat goes away and the body returns to normal.

What are the negative effects of stress?

Our fast paced lives today include many long-term stresses with no clear short term resolution. Consequently you may be running on the fight or flight reaction longer then nature intended. What's good for the body in a short-term crisis can be very harmful over long periods of time.

The long-term activation of the stress-response system - and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and adrenaline - can disrupt almost all your body's processes, increasing your risk of obesity, insomnia, digestive problems, heart disease, depression, memory impairment, and other physical illnesses.

How Can Conscious Breathing help relieve stress?

Breathing is a unconscious activity of the body. Conscious breathing can provide a tool to help manage the stress of everyday life. The breath is the bridge between the mind, the body, and the spirit. There is a breathing rhythm associated with all the physical and psychological states of the body and mind. There's is a breath for passion, a breath for anger, a breath for fear, a breath for joy, a breath for sorrow and a breath for happiness.

Becoming conscious of our personal breathing rhythms and learning to manage our reactions to external stressors can go a long way to improving our health and our relationships; bringing peace of mind and - perhaps - a longer, healthier life. We may not be able to control external stressors but we can learn to control our reaction to them and reduce their effect on our lives.

What are the benefits of Conscious Breathing?

Conscious breathing techniques can be used at our desks, on a train, or driving a car. Learning to use conscious breathing techniques can improve your physical response to stress by: * Slowing your heart rate * Lowering blood pressure * Increasing oxygen flow * Increasing blood flow to major muscles * reducing muscle tension

Overall health and lifestyle benefits may include: * Fewer physical symptoms of stress such as headaches and back pain. * Less anger and frustration * More energy * improved concentration * Greater ability to handle problems * increased efficiency in daily activities.

How do I learn Conscious Breathing? Conscious breathing is a tool you can use to manage and control your reaction to stress in your daily life. It is a natural, drug free way to relieve stress and reduce its effects on our lives. Additional resources, exercises and instruction can be found at www.ibreath-in.com.

About the Author

Rich Davis has been a meditation teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 20 years. Teaching conscious breathing is the first step toward learning meditation. For more information and resources to help develop a conscious breathing practice go to www.ibreath-in.com



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