Having a Tough Day? Reach for the Long Deep Breath – Women’s Health of Central Massachusetts

Dr Herb Benson, a Harvard cardiologist, described the “relaxation response” decades ago. He researched the body’s response to long slow deep breathing and found that as few as ten deep breaths in a row can reverse the “stress response” of which we are all too familiar.

To practice this, sit comfortably, with a straight spine so you can fill your lungs completely, in a chair is fine (or in the bathroom if you have no privacy at work!). Breathe long, slow, deep, and fully expanding first your belly, then ribcage, all the way up to your collarbones, and reverse to exhale. Say something silently to yourself such as “I am at peace”, or any other meaningful phrase. By breath #10 you will feel re-energized and more relaxed. Even one deep breath, say waiting in a grocery store, will make a difference. Try it today!

Submitted by: Diane Pingeton, MD

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