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How to Use Deep Breathing

Hey, we gotta breathe…right? Here's how to get more out of it.

So, the meditation thing is tough for you. We get it -- it's hard to relax. Let’s take it in baby steps (think: breathing). In and out, in and out. Hey, check you out! You're already doing it.

The big key in using breathing to relax is simply to slow down your breath. Here are a few of our favorite techniques for doing so.

Finger Breathing. Put your index finger on your left nostril, and your thumb on the right. Hold your finger over your left nostril, and breathe out and in. Then release your left nostril, cover your right, and breathe out and in. Got it? Just continue this pattern over and over, focusing on your slow breath (especially the exhale). Close your eyes if you can to cut out even more distractions.

Slow it down. If you don’t have the luxury of being able to use your fingers to play with your nose (say, during a business meeting or a heated argument with your partner), just work on simply breathing out extra slowly. Count to four as you inhale, and then six as you exhale. The point is to make your exhale longer than your inhale.

Walk and breathe. We know, we know, two things at a time...but one really good way to get your breath in a rhythm is to walk slowly, inhaling or exhaling with each step. This one’s perfect for a (solo) elevator trip -- just take your walk in a small circle.

Nestpert: Judith F. Kashtan, MD, is a practicing psychiatrist in the Twin Cities and past president of the Minnesota Psychiatric Association. Find out more at kashtan.yourmd.com.

-- The Nest Editors

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