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Article – Breathe and Relax & The Power of Meditation

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Help fight stress by breathing better and practicing meditation.

Breathe and Relax & The Power of Meditation

– Dr. Matthew Anderson

Help fight stress by breathing better and practicing meditation.

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When we are under extreme stress, our physiological/mental/emotional systems react to it the way they would react to an actual physical threat. This unconscious reflex causes our muscles to tighten to prepare us for making a life-saving "fight or flight" response. Most of us automatically tighten our stomach muscles and diaphragm - and, as a result, we stop breathing normally. We begin to breathe with our chest muscles, which does nothing but expand the upper chest. This causes shortness of breath, a decrease in our oxygen supply, and anxiety. And if the anxiety is severe, it can diminish our ability to think or act effectively.

To alleviate this problem, practice the following exercises.

  1. Learn to breathe properly. Lie on your back on your bed. Place your hand on your lower stomach. Breathe deeply through your nose, focusing on directing the breath to your stomach. When you breathe out, press gently on your stomach to push the air out. Repeat the process, taking a break after every third breath. Practice for five minutes a day.
  2. Practice deep breathing throughout the day. Take a deep breath every time the phone rings, before you start your car, every time you look at your watch, when you wake up, when you go to bed, before you eat. Your body will be more relaxed, your mind will be clearer, and you will have less anxiety.

Whether it’s caused by the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the trauma of divorce, or even the new responsibilities of a promotion, extreme stress can sap your energy and motivation and leave you feeling helpless. Fortunately, there are simple actions you can take - starting today - to reduce your stress and leave you feeling calm and in control.

Meditation is one of the best stress relievers I know of. And the more stress you are experiencing, the more meditation you need. This spiritual (and psychological) technique is 5,000 years old. It is taught, in one form or another, by all of the world’s great religions. There is no debate, religious or scientific, about its value. And it is particularly helpful to anyone affected by extreme stress.

Here’s why:

Meditation quiets the mind, lowers blood pressure, rests and calms the body, and expands your ability to solve problems creatively. It also enhances and speeds spiritual growth. All of these benefits will help you survive and even transform your difficult life situation.

To meditate, sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet room. Both feet on the floor. Hands in your lap. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply three times and then normally. Repeat (in your mind), "Peace be with me." Your mind will wander. Simply bring it back by repeating "Peace be with me."

Try it. Do this for 20 minutes once a day. Twice a day is better. Make the time. It may be the best thing you do all day.

This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet's most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com.

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