Is it possible to simply relieve tension? Is there any truth is taking good old advice such as "get it off your chest" before you become upset or angry? Many of us can remember a vacation in the mountains, or by the sea, or a walk in the woods where deep breathing was like a balm to the soul - all the stress disappeared as if by magic. Unfortunately, this positive effect is seldom achieved in everyday life! Conscious breathing, however, can help anybody to cope with the inevitable stresses of life and in time, it can help to reduce tension in our bodies. Breathing is, after all, the only one of our vital functions that we can consciously control.

Simple breathing exercises

A breathing rhythm to help you relax should involve an exhalation period that is longer than inhalation, and you should make a brief pause before the next breath - counting it out in your mind. If you want to reinvigorate yourself and wake up, you should emphasize the inhalation to increase the supply of oxygen to your brain. Always breathe in through your nose so that the air is warmed and the cilia can filter out harmful particles.

Abdominal breathing with gentle abdominal massage

Rest the palms of your hands lightly on your stomach, without applying any pressure. While you are breathing deeply in, the abdomen will bulge and your fingertips will be raised slightly to make room for the incoming air. When you exhale, move your stomach inwards as slowly as possible and gently move your fingertips from the body's center to the side, as if to squeeze out the exhaled air. For best results, repeat this breathing and massaging for seven breathing cycles, resting briefly between each cycle. To deepen the relaxation, visualize the breath flowing out of your body, while each cell is supplied with oxygen, the stale air is exhaled and all the tension disappears from the body completely.

Keeping your balance

Stand firmly with both feet on the ground, legs about hip width apart:

Standing on tip-toes, raise your arms above your head and breathe in deeply at the same time. Touch your fingertips above your head as if in prayer. As you exhale, lower your feet to the floor and your arms to your sides.

Repeat three times in a row.

Next, maintain your tip-toed position with your arms above your head for the duration of two breaths, and repeat this two times.

The third exercise is conducted only once, remain on your tip-toes with your arms above your head for the duration of three breaths.

Breathing exercises are most effective when carried out in the open or by an open window. With time and practice, these exercises will help to reinforce your sense of balance. If you begin to wobble, it helps to focus on a fixed point in space or at something in the distance. If you become dizzy, discontinue the exercises immediately.