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Conscious Breathing to Relieve Stress


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<a href="http://www.how-to-self.com/stress/conscious-breathing.php">Conscious Breathing to Relieve Stress</a>

Conscious breathing is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress as well as the easiest. Conscious breathing can be extremely simple, or can be even more effective if accompanied by affirmations or ritual.

Even if you never pay any more in-depth attention to your breath, stop what you are doing every hour to close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly for a few moments with your attention focused completely on each in-breath and out breath.

To get even more relaxation out of a momentary pause, while either sitting or standing let your jaw go slack and let your arms hang loosely at your sides. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. Pause briefly after a full inhale. Then exhale slowly and completely either through your nose or mouth - experiment to see which feels more relaxing, or alternate mouth and nose exhaling. Finally, pause briefly after exhaling fully, and repeat the cycle. In this simple version of conscious breathing, keep your attention focused only on each in-breath and out-breath.

Try any or all of these variations. See which you may want to incorporate into your practice, and which are helpful in varying your routine...

1. Extend your arms to the side rather then letting them hang. Try extending your arms fully to form a cross shape or partially to form an arrow shape.

2. Roll your head slowly in full circles both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Be very gentle with yourself and don't try this if you have any neck problems.

3. Silently repeat a positive affirmation during your breathing exercise. Begin your exercise with your focus on your breath. Then repeat a single positive affirmation for a time. Finish your exercise by returning your focus to your breathing for a number of breaths. Choose a simple affirmation such as, "Life is good," "I have everything I need," or "I feel light and joyful."

4. Visualize a peaceful relaxing scene while you are breathing such as waves breaking on a beach, a mountain and forest panorama, or a field of daffodils waving in a gentle warm breeze.

From ancient times, and in various traditions, many rituals have been associated with conscious breathing. Try this conscious breathing ritual with a spiritual orientation. In this exercise, you imagine drawing new clean energy in through the top of your head on each in-breath, and expelling old stale energy out the soles of your feet on each out-breath.

Choose a quiet place if possible. Sit comfortably but erect in a chair with no arms. Remove your glasses, watch, jewelry and metal objects. Place your feet flat on the floor, and hold your arms slightly out to the sides. Raise your chin slightly and focus your inner gaze upward. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, with your lips almost closed as if blowing up a balloon.

With each in-breath, visualize clean white energy streaming in through the top of your head. Feel the renewal, the strength, the connection with Spirit and all creation. Feel the wellbeing, the relaxation, the sense of peace. Let the corners of your mouth form just the slightest smile of contentment in the knowing that all is right with your world.

On each out-breath, visualize the clean white energy being forced down throughout your whole body - nourishing and rejuvenating each cell. Simultaneously, visualize dark clouds of stale energy leaving from the soles of your feet. Feel the tensions, the angers, the frustrations draining from your body. Feel all your fears and stress falling away as the dark cloud drifts toward the center of the earth.

As you continue breathing slowly, in and out, visualizing the new energy entering and the old energy leaving, the energy leaving through the soles of your feet will grow lighter, changing from black to dark gray to a lighter gray.

When the color of the energy you are exhaling has become almost as bright as the clean new energy that you are breathing in through the crown of your head, the process is complete.

Feel renewed and at peace with Spirit, with the world, with all people and beings, with yourself, with your past, your present and your future.

Further reading about Stress-Free Living:

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Jonathan Lockwood Huie
"The Philosopher of Happiness" - is the author of 100 Secrets for Living a Life You Love, co-author of Simply An Inspired Life, speaker, personal coach, and creator of the popular Daily Inspiration - Daily Quote free email and Regaining Your Happiness in Seven Weeks e-training program.

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