Super Stress Buster Plus

image of woman taking a deep breath

The American Institute of Stress (AIS) reports that there is one “Super Stress Buster” that allows our relaxation response to settle right in. It is highly recommended for everyone, including children. You can use it anywhere, it is super easy to do, and it’s even free. What is this Super Stress Buster? Just take 10 slow and full abdominal breaths!

The key to using breathing as a way to reduce stress is learning to breathe fully into and from your abdomen (the bottom of your lungs) down near the diaphragm. Taking intentionally slow, full breaths reduces stress and its negative impacts on your body. Have you ever noticed when you’re stressed, you take quick, shallow breaths? Unfortunately, this robs your body of the benefits that a full breath provides. Learning to notice these shallow breaths and then consciously slowing and deepening your breaths will help you feel calmer quickly.

To start, notice your breathing right now as you are reading this. Are you breathing rapidly or slowly? Are your breaths shallow, or are you breathing deeply? Where do you feel your breath in your body? Where do you feel the expansion in your body? Is it only your chest, or does it go further into your abdominal area and rib cage?

Now let’s learn abdominal breathing. Place one hand on your abdomen right beneath your rib cage. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, breathing all the way into the bottom of your lungs. Your chest may rise slightly, and your stomach should rise noticeably, pushing your hand up and out. When you see your hand moving up and out as you inhale, you know you’ve got it.

After inhaling fully into the abdomen, pause for just a moment with your full breath, and then exhale slowly and fully through your mouth. Control your exhale so that it lasts longer than your inhale; twice as long is ideal. As you exhale, try to relax all the muscles in your body.  To allow the relaxation response to really settle in, try to take at least 10 abdominal breaths. Keeping your breaths slow and smooth so that you don’t get getting dizzy. The AIS recommends 20-30 minutes of abdominal breathing each day, but I know your time is short. Start with 10 breaths today and build up when you can.

What about the PLUS? You know what’s coming, right? LOL

Once you have the Super Stress Buster abdominal breathing technique down, add EFT Tapping for the PLUS!

The easiest way to do this is to start tapping on the side of your hand as you inhale. No words are needed. Tap on the top of the head for your exhale, then tap on the eyebrow point for your inhale, side of the eye for your exhale. Continue moving through all the points for each inhale and exhale. You can add in the finger points if you like. How does that feel? If you prefer, you can tap on one point for a full breath as you inhale and exhale, then move to the next point. Or take a few breaths at one single point, such as the collarbone point. That’s one of my favorites because it’s so calming.

Breathe, tap, and notice how you feel. This can be your powerful Super Stress Buster Plus activity each day. Write down any thoughts, words, memories, or emotions that come up from your breathing and tapping, and you can tap on those using the Basic Recipe when you feel ready.

I’ve posted about the benefits of breathing before, and I am sure I’ll post again about the miracles that come from mindful breathing because it is that important to our quality of life. For reducing stress, nothing is easier or more effective. I’d love to hear how it works for you.

Abdominal Breathing is one of the five relaxing breathing techniques in my eBook called Take One Breath: The Art of Managing Stress Through Mindful Breathing. Check it out if you’d like to learn more about using the breath to relieve stress.

Keep Calm and Tap On!

Please remember: It's important to contact a professional if things feel too big for you, whether it be a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified EFT practitioner. Never discontinue your current medications without first consulting your doctor.