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The Easiest Cure Ever for PMS, Stress, Insomnia and More (P.S. It's FREE)

Smart breathing techniques that can change your life
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When your period isn't like a frolicking-in-the-field tampon commercial
When you're in pain, holding your breath or taking short, shallow breaths is a natural reaction, but it actually triggers more tension and pain. Focusing on a specific breathing pattern can help the body relax and release some tension around the pain.

For debilitating cramps, try a yoga breathing technique like Viloma Pranayama. Start by inhaling and exhaling naturally through your nose. After your next exhale, pause for two seconds before inhaling. Repeat up to five times. This can be performed while seated or while lying down --- just as long as your head is positioned slightly higher than your chest. Although blood is probably the thing you want to think about when you're in PMS pain, this yoga technique improves blood circulation, which eases the pain.

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When grandma is bench pressing more iron than you at the gym
Next time you're lifting, curling and pressing, look in the mirror -- you shouldn't be tight-lipped and red-faced. You don't have to grunt like a Williams sister at Wimbeldon, but you should be making somewhat audible inhales and exhales with every rep in your set to deliver sufficient oxygen to your muscle groups.

To keep your blood pressure down and make your moves more effective, exhale during the exertion portion of the move and inhale on the return for more oomph. For example, with a bicep curl, breathe out on the "up" phase (concentric contraction) and breath out on the "down" phase (essentric contraction). As hard as it may be, never hold your breath -- this keeps blood from returning to your heart and raises your blood pressure.

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30 seconds before you lose your sh*t
"Calm down." "Relax." The last words you're ready to hear when you're searching for a wall to punch. In just 30 seconds of white-hot anger, a lot is happening: your blood pressure increases because your body is trying to get more oxygen, your shoulders and back muscles tense, and your animal fight or flight instinct causes your pupils to dilate to focus on the threat (and/or target).

This is when you need to find your breath. Distract yourself from the nuisance at hand by focusing on a breathing pattern and silently repeating a mantra. Skip the usual "count to 10," which most people rush through, and focus on counts of four. Inhale from your belly for four counts, hold it for four counts and release for four counts until your counting slows down and your breaths became more full and deep.

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At work, when you're one of the walking dead
Coffee won't cure that late afternoon slump (blasphemy, I know). Instead of yawning at your desk, use your breath as a substitute for your next shot of espresso. Sit up straight in your desk, feet firmly planted on the floor and inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. Disclaimer #1: This is a noisy breathing exercise so you may want to take it somewhere private. Disclaimer #2: Don't do this for more than 15 seconds on your first try or you might pass out (which is counterproductive if you're trying to stay awake). Slowly increase your time by five seconds or so every time you tip into zombie zone until you reach a full minute.

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On an a.m. run, when you're feeling stabby
Running jostles your internal organs -- including your diaphragm -- up and down. If you're gulping for air as you hit your second mile, it can trap air in your diaphragm and cause it to spasm. The result? Painful stitches and cramps. To prevent those annoying jabs, try changing the pattern of your inhale and exhale ratios to three steps per exhalation and two steps per inhalation. This pattern ensures that the foot hitting the ground when you breathe out alternates between left and right, keeping your diaphragm even while you run.

You breathe all the time. You're (hopefully) breathing right now. You've been doing it since birth, which kinda makes you a pro, right? Sadly, most of us aren't good at it because we aren't diaphragmatic breathing, aka belly breathing. Most of us go for the chest variety, which is too shallow and can throw off the body's oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanges, which can create a whole host of problems, including pain, stress and digestive issues. Simply training yourself to breathe more deeply and focus on your breathing patterns makes a world of difference. Ready to stop OD-ing on coffee, popping painkillers or staying up past your bedtime? Learn how to breathe.
BY ERICA SMITH | MAR 11, 2014 | SHARES
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