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Breathing to reduce holiday stress.

The holidays are upon us. Add in the ongoing pandemic, political division, and all the uncertainties we’re facing and we have a recipe for unnecessary stress, anxiety, and worry.

Notice I said “unnecessary”. There are certainly times when stress is a good thing. It can help motivate us to reach a goal or finish a project. It can also be a warning sign of some imminent danger.

But much of the time-probably most of the time-the stress and worry that fuels anxiety are not helping us at all.

Here’s a quick tip for a simple breathing exercise that can help you relax and reground yourself during the holidays and beyond.

Step 1: Sit or stand up straight while opening your shoulders and chest. This posture alone can be an effective mood-changer.

Step 2: Close your eyes if you wish then take a slow, deep breath in through your nose for a count of 5. Allow the breath to fill your belly as well as expand your chest.

Step 3: Gently hold the breath for another count of 5.

Step 4: Release the breath slowly for another 5 count.

Step 5: Repeat this 5 count cycle of breathing 5 times.

Do this exercise at least 3 times a day (5 is better) and notice how it helps reduce stress both in the moment and throughout the course of your day.