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How to Calm Down in Just Two Breaths: What Buddhist Monks Taught Me

Bright Side has found six simple exercises that will help calm down frayed nerves. All they involve is breathing, and they’ve been tried and tested. It’s best to do these exercises no more than 5-10 times in a row.

The basic rule for doing breathing exercises in order to remove stress:

Sit up straight, close your eyes, relax, and think about positive things.

To quickly reduce stress:

Take short, relatively deep breaths. Then hold your breath for 4 seconds and exhale slowly and fully. Now wait for 5 seconds, then breathe in again.

To help you relax and clear your mind:

Place one hand on your forehead and the other on the back of your head. This will help strengthen the blood flow to these parts of your head, helping to reduce tension. Without removing your hands, breathe in and out evenly, with a small delay between inhaling and exhaling.

To calm your nerves:

Breathe in deeply, then breathe out forcefully through a very slightly open mouth. When exhaling, let the air out in small “portions,” pushing it out from inside.

Here you need to do an artificial yawn. Opening your mouth as wide as you can, to the point where you can feel the strain on your lower jaw, breathe in evenly. You should be able to feel how your lungs fill with air. Hold your breath for 2 seconds, then carefully and evenly breathe out.

Breathing in fully, and without holding your breath, let the air out of your open mouth. Your lips should form a circle. Breathe out the air in portions. The first part of the exhalation should be the longest, and each portion should contain less and less air. After you’ve completely exhaled, wait 5-10 seconds then repeat the breathing exercise.