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Deep breaths reduce stress

The breath of Mr. Science, Darryl Lee Baynes, resembles steam after drinking liquid nitrogen during a program presented to students in 2001 at J.B. Young Intermediate School, Davenport. A deep breath serves to reduce stress among most people, and tops the list of stress-reduction tips for April, National Stress Awareness Month.

It's Election Day in the Quad-Cities, and yours truly was one 'Nervous Nellie' when preparing for today's assignments.

Yep, I was all excited to cover the election, and that included feeling stressed. So, I had a big piece of my husband's apple pie, and then then took some deep breaths.

Deep breathing is an old trick I often use to reduce stress. It actually increases the blood flow in the brain and other important organs, which works to, at the same time, allow the body to physiologically relax a bit.

Try it! You'll like it, as the old saying goes.

Here are five stress reduction tips from United Healthcare, which happens to be the health insurance company for this person. Notice which one is #1.

  • Take a deep breath — or 10. Sit quietly, breathe deeply and exhale slowly — and try to let go of your worries.
  • Step out. If you can get away, take a short, brisk walk to clear your head.
  • Go to your happy place. Close your eyes — and imagine a favorite serene setting.
  • Tune out the tension. Take a few minutes to listen to some calming music. Or maybe rocking out is more your style. An up-tempo song — and some air guitar or pencil drumming — may do the trick for you.
  • Focus on the upside. When you're feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to think about all the blessings in your life, including your own good qualities. Are you stressed over a particular difficult situation? Try to picture at least one positive solution — and what steps you would take to make that happen.

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