Calm your election stress with this simple breathing exercise

If the elections have you feeling anxious, we have a simple yet powerful way to feel calmer: intentional breathing. Most of us don’t pay much attention to how we breathe, because it happens automatically, but the fact of the matter is that we should be more mindful of how we breathe.

As James Nestor points out in his fascinating book Breath, most of us breathe wrong—with our mouths open and without any intention. Mouth breathing, he explains, undermines health and our ability to manage stress. Not to mention it limits the amount of oxygen we draw into our lungs.

When we are more deliberate of how we breathe, the benefits for mental and physical health can be great. Even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can transform our mood, focus, perception of stress, and energy level. And that’s vital in these stressful election times.

If you want to breathe better and feel calmer right now, try the following breathing exercise. It’s simple and can be done anywhere.

  1. Sit up straight
  2. Relax your shoulders
  3. Close your mouth
  4. Inhale softly through your nose for 5.5 seconds, expanding the belly
  5. Exhale softly for 5.5 seconds through your nose, bringing the belly in as the lungs empty.

Repeat the exercise 10 times and feel the calmness wash the stress away.

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