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How Modern Technology Causes Stress
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. While this has led to many magnificent modern conveniences, stress has run wild as a result of a detachment from our more primal nature.
According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans owned a smartphone as of early 2018. Between the ages of 18-29, 28% heavily rely on their smartphones to connect to the Internet, while 24% of those between the ages of 30-49 do not use any other Internet-connected device other than their smartphones.
Simply put, the more people checked and spent time on their gadgets, the more stressed out they felt. So, what do we do about the multiple modern stressors?
Here’s one of the most simple and cost-effective solutions: just breathe.
What Are the Benefits of Deep Breathing?
The ancient teachers were on to something.
There are many deep breathing exercises available that date back to ancient practices. Now, science is finally catching up with the medicinal benefits and the major neurochemistry upgrade that can be achieved through popular practices such as Kundalini yoga.
One ancient yogic breathing technique, in particular, the Ujjayi breath, has long been noted for its:
- Detoxification of the mind and body
- Relief of tension
- Build up of energy
- An increase in the amount of oxygen in the blood vessels
Why Is Proper Breathing So Important?
Breathing properly can be a huge way to improve your overall well-being. In fact, breathing is the bridge between the mind and body and the connection between consciousness and unconsciousness.
What makes this human function even more powerful is that taking a breath is the only one we perform both consciously and unconsciously. It’s controlled by two sets of nerves—one belonging to the voluntary nervous system and the other to the autonomic system.
Simply put, deep belly breathing has multiple health benefits. It helps lower your blood pressure, calm your heart rate, help your immune system, and aid in your digestion. Even more, diaphragmatic breathing has a deep and direct connection to our mental health and mood.
Notice yourself when you feel angry or upset. How is your breathing? Typically, you will observe shortness of breath and shallow breathing as a result of this mood shift.
We can actually alter our mood by changing the way we breathe. Your breathing rate and pattern can affect your mood. In fact, you cannot be upset if your breathing is slow, deep, and consistent.
Which Deep Breathing Technique Best Fits Your Stress-Relieving Needs?
One of the coolest things about being more mindful about breathing is there are so many practices to choose from. Here are a few ideas to help discipline your breathing (and maybe find a new interest!)
This is a rather broad topic, but there are many facets that could become a new habit to help you practice breathing more deeply and fluidly. This includes practicing yoga.
Kundalini yoga, for example, implements actions such as the breath of fire—a cleansing and energizing breath, powered by your abdominal contractions.
How do you do this abdominal breathing exercise?
- Start with long, deep breathing
- As soon as the lungs are expanded immediately force the air out, arching the spine forward and pressing the palms inward against the knees.
If that breathing exercise sounds a bit too intense, just a classic yoga session will help to loosen the body and steady the breath.
Meditation does not have to mean sitting on a cushion with your eyes closed for hours. Technology can be on our side in this case as there are apps to help guide you through simple meditations.
Even if you just pause for a few minutes to observe your breathing patterns, you will feel a tremendous difference.
This type of breathing found in many meditation practices has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, relax muscles, decrease stress, increase energy levels, and improve your body’s relaxation response. When you breathe deeply and slowly like this, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which ultimately reverses the stress response in the body.
More Ways to Reduce Stress
Below are some of the quickest, most effective stress management techniques people can incorporate into their daily lives.
1. Bust Out Some Exercises
A cool way to prevent feeling stressed is to get up and do some exercises. We’re not talking about doing a full-body workout routine, some simple dynamic stretching exercises and movements are enough.
For example, let’s say you’re at work and a client starts giving you a really hard time. Instead of letting your emotions override your will and exploding in a fit of rage, pause for a minute and do some quick exercises.
These can include jumping jacks, dead hangs, sit-ups, or push-ups. Any physical activity suffices as long as it gets the blood pumping through your brain and body.
Exercise is always helpful in busting chronic stress and work stress, especially if you’re feeling stress and burnout at the same time.
2. Stretch It Out
Now if you don’t have enough space to bust out some quick exercises, or you don’t want to ruin your clothes, you can opt to do some simple stretching exercises.
Stand up, raise your arms above your head, and take long, deep breaths. Make sure to move every single joint in your body to ensure maximum effectiveness.
3. Think of Something Calming
As cheesy as this sounds, thinking of something peaceful and relaxing really helps calm down the mind. You might have heard this portrayed in many films where a patient is told to “go to their happy place” when things get too stressful for them to handle.
After doing some breathing exercises, take a moment to unwind and think of something that makes you happy. It can be your parents, lover, family, or pet.
You can also think of a place that makes you feel safe, happy, and secure. Maybe it’s a beach, forest, mountain, or your own home. There are no wrong or right answers, and you’re free to think of anything you want.
4. Relax With Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that has been around for centuries now. Today, plenty of people use essential oils and aromatherapy techniques to help soothe their senses and relax the mind.
Just take a drop of essential oil, spread it on the back of your hand, and rub it under your nostrils. This technique works best if you also do some breathing exercises and think of a calm, soothing image at the same time.
5. Just Slow Down
There are many incredible outlets to help restore our energy and instill better breathing habits. Whether it’s the Kundalini fire breath or simply sitting down to meditate each day, the opportunity to reset our way of living and the power to upgrade our habits rests in our hands.
Keeping things simple is key; there is nothing quite like when you allow oxygen to fill your lungs and take the stress away.
Learn the to slow down in life by acknowledging the way it feels to have the sun shining on your face as you walk to your car, or the warmth of your coffee mug in your palms as you sip slowly. The micro-decisions we make daily can accumulate into something greater—the joy of living.
There are plenty of relaxation techniques you can use to lower your stress levels. Take your time, appreciate the beauty of nature, and find something to be grateful for every day.
Just take a deep breath, and your overall health and wellness will improve in no time.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 25, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy most recently on March 10, 2022.