Conscious Breathing: A Simple Stress-Management Tool for Caregivers

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It's never too late to add another self-calming tool in your ongoing efforts to find something -- anything! -- to better help you manage daily stress. "Conscious breathing" is an easy breathing technique that comes from integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil -- and best of all, you can do it with your loved one right in the same room.

How to do it:

  • Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.

  • Hold for a count of seven.

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  • Then exhale through your mouth for a count of eight as a "whooshing" sound comes out.

  • Repeat this series at least four times in a row.

Why does it work? Paced breathing is thought to trigger the relaxation response, which counteracts the stress response we're all much more familiar with.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio