Tamp the panic

Breathing exercise to de-stress

According to the Mayo Clinic, focused breathing can help release tension and manage stress when the mind is overloaded and anxiety sets in. The key is focusing on diaphragmatic breathing (using the diaphragm muscle) over chest breathing (using upper-chest muscles), and there are several techniques that will sharpen your abilities and allow you to calm down. One of the most popular is the box breathing used by Navy Seals: inhale through the nose (four count); hold (four count); exhale through the nose (four count); hold (four count); and repeat for five minutes (or less for beginners). There’s also the 4-7-8 technique championed by alternative-medicine guru Dr. Andrew Weil: inhale through nose (four count); hold (seven count); exhale through mouth (eight count). Start with four reps per session and increase to eight as you acclimate; repeat as needed. The Mayo clinic suggests placing one hand on your abdomen (below navel), then inhaling and exhaling through your nose in long, slow, deep breaths, feeling your abdomen (not chest) rise and fall as it fills and empties. Continue until you’ve chilled.