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Take a deep breath to relieve stress — the right way

Try to think through exhaling throughout the day.

Try to think through exhaling throughout the day. Credit: Getty Images / iStock Photo / Michael Puche

Much has been taught in the realm of relaxation around taking deep breaths.

But how much do we think about ending a breath well?

The exhale is the most important part, says Belisa Vranich, author of “Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health.”

Her book focuses on how teaching your body to breathe better can improve health.

Many people don’t breathe correctly, said Vranich.

“Start with the exhale when you’re thinking about your breathing,” she said.

Often, when people are stressed, they don’t breathe mindfully. In fact, they can stop breathing altogether.

“It’s a reaction to fear and stress,” Vranich said. “It’s also a reaction to being on very tight deadlines and stressed out in front of your computer.”

Taking shallow breaths can mean not getting enough air.

“You’re holding your breath like you’re underwater,” she said. “It wreaks havoc on your body and your brain. All of a sudden, you’ll realize, or your body will alert you. You’ll take a few breaths, and then you’ll do it again.”

Try to think through exhaling throughout the day.

Here’s how to become a pro. Exhale the entire way out. Activate the entire middle self of your body; you should feel the area around your ribs narrowing.

“You should feel,” she said, “like your entire middle is being wrung out.”

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