Take a Deep Breath after Weight Loss Surgery
Stress can be a big problem after weight loss surgery—emotional eating can slow your progress while daily anxieties can wreak havoc on your motivation to continue. As your bariatric surgeon in Albany or Macon will tell you, mental health can be just as important after weight loss surgery as physical health. While you’re working hard to meet your exercise and diet needs after surgery, you may also need strategies that help you manage stress, but this can be as simple as taking a deep breath.
It may seem farfetched to think that a simple act like breathing can make a significant difference in your stress levels. After all, breathing is something we do 20,000 times a day, whether stressed out or not. However, the way that we typically breathe is not at all ideal—we tend to take shallow breaths that don’t fully engage the muscles of the diaphragm or give the lower lungs the oxygen they need, and this can contribute to anxiety.
Deep abdominal breathing corrects this problem and can reduce both heart rate and blood pressure. By giving your lungs a full dose of oxygen and completely exhaling carbon dioxide, deep breathing can be a very real way to physically relax your body. The best part? It can be done by anyone, anywhere at any time.
Still, if you’ve never used deep breathing as a relaxation technique, it can be difficult to know where to start. The process will be simple if you follow these steps:
- Find a relaxing spot and sit or lie down. Inhale through your nose slowly and deeply while keeping your abdomen relaxed and completely filling your chest and belly with air.
- Exhale completely through your nose or mouth—whichever feels most natural—and imagine your worries leaving your body as you breathe out.
- Repeat this process for 10 to 15 minutes, focusing your attention on the act of breathing or a relaxing word or phrase.
When you’re first beginning, try alternating between deep breaths and normal breaths and paying close attention to how you feel after each one. You’ll likely notice how naturally these deep breaths can ebb away tension.
You can do this exercise as often as you like, but do it a few times a day and you’re sure to notice an improvement in your stress levels. Just remember: deep breathing can’t provide a solution to serious problems. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, anxiety or other mental concerns, don’t hesitate to ask your bariatric surgeon in Albany or Macon about the best way to get help.