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Breathe Away Holiday Stress

Smiling woman laying on ground with chrismtas lights and other decorations

There seems to be no shortage of stress these days. Add to that the busy holiday season and stress levels are sure to be skyrocketing! We all know too much stress is bad for our health, both physically and mentally. So we've got to get it under control STAT. 

One quick way to lower our stress reaction is deep breathing. There are tons of different techniques, but this one is short, easy to remember, and super effective. 

It's called "4-7-8 Breath." This is my favorite breath technique to lower stress instantly. You can also use it when you need to feel uplifted or to "change the channel" on how you're feeling.  

How To Do It

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  5. This is one breath. Now, inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Bonus: Add the below muscle relaxation technique for an even deeper sense of calm. 

How To Do It 

  1. Scan your body take note of how you are feeling, then start at your head. Take a deep breath in, squeeze all the muscles in your head and face as hard as you can and release as you exhale. 
  2. Repeat for each body part until you reach your toes. 
  3. For an extra element of stress release, try to visualize the stress pouring out of your body as you exhale and relaxation filling you up as you inhale. 

Try these exercises next time you find yourself needing a sense of calm and stress relief.

– By Corey Phelps, NASM certified trainer and nutrition expert. Follow her on IG @cultivatebycorey