STRESSED AT WORK? CAN'T SLEEP? KIDS ON YOUR LAST NERVE?
You need this one little breathing technique in your self care toolbox when you're about to lose your sh*%.
The way you inhale and exhale and the timing of each breath has the power to alleviate that discomfort and within minutes reduce the stress response bringing you back to a state of calm.
CHECKING IN ON YOUR BREATH
Notice how your breathing feels right now as you read this post. Is it fast or slow? Are you relaxed yet or just trying to settle down? sitting at a desk, or perhaps you're at home in a comfortable chair. Notice your breath and your heart rate. Now let's switch gears. What does your breath feel like when you're stuck in traffic and late for an appointment? Can you recall what it feels like when you receive bad news or something upsets you and a big ugly cry kicks into gear. What about the moment when you're about to fall asleep?
Your breath changes with each of those emotional situations.
Let's go back to the example of the stress response sitting in traffic. We've all been there. Brake lights are everywhere and you have been sitting so long that you can see feel tension rising up. You know can see practically watch the 5 o'clock shadow growing on the face of the driver next to you and you're already late for that job interview or picking up the kids.
Your breath is probably more shallow or perhaps you've got a little road rage brewing. Your state of mind is in panic zone and if you don't take control of it the rest of the day will be toast.
You don't have to just sit & simmer. Of course having a primal scream moment might help momentarily, but that might actually stir up your emotions more.
Instead of giving in to the madness, try this:
AS EASY AS 1,2,3,4!
Breathe out slowly, exhale all the air from your lungs.
Inhale through your nose as you slowly while counting to four in your head.
Hold your breath for a count of four.
Exhale for another count of four.
Hold your breath again for a count of four.
Exhale again. Repeat 3x.
Check in again: How did you feel? Less annoyed or irritated? Did your heart rate slow? Did the tension in your neck and back relax a bit? Have your thoughts slowed down? Do you feel a sense of clarity?
***Use this technique whenever you feel your emotions getting the best of you and you need a little reset.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
BREATHWORK IS NOT ANOTHER TRENDY WELLNESS GIMMICK
It's been around a LONG time.
It is enjoying a huge resurgence, but it's far more than a passing trend or just a nod to the 60's and 70's when it first became popular in the United States.. It's a practice that goes back for centuries and is deeply rooted in the practice of yoga.
DO I NEED TO PRACTICE YOGA TO USE BREATHWORK?
No! Breathwork is beneficial to people of all ages. See the example of doing that little Box Breathing in the car? It's simple and can be done just about anywhere. Just don't close your eyes if you're in the car.!
WHAT IS BREATHWORK ANYWAY?
Breathwork refers to the conscious control and manipulation of one's breathing patterns, has been shown to offer a range of benefits for both physical and mental health.
BETTER MOOD. BETTER SLEEP. BETTER COMMUTE...OKAY WE CAN'T HELP WITH THE TRAFFIC, BUT WE BET THE MORE YOU USE BREATHWORK, THE CALMER YOU'LL FEEL DURING RUSH HOUR OR THE KIDDIE BEWITCHING HOUR IN THE AFTERNOON.
WHEN YOU INCORPORATE SIMPLE BREATHWORK TECHNIQUES INTO YOUR DAY TO DAY THE BENEFITS ARE BIG:
Reduces stress and anxiety: Breathing exercises can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. This can help to lower anxiety and promote feelings of calmness.
Increases focus and concentration: Breathwork can help to improve focus and concentration by increasing oxygenation to the brain, which can improve cognitive function.
Boosts immunity: Deep breathing can help to improve circulation and increase oxygen levels in the body, which can support immune function and help to ward off illness.
Enhances physical performance: Breathwork can help to improve endurance and stamina by increasing oxygen uptake and reducing the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles.
Supports emotional regulation: Conscious breathing can help individuals to regulate their emotions and manage their responses to stressors in their environment.
Improves sleep quality: Certain breathing techniques can help to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
BONUS: HELPS YOU SET BETTER EXAMPLE FOR YOUR KIDS ON HOW TO MANAGE WHEN THINGS DON'T GO AS PLANNED!
Overall, breathwork can be a simple and effective way to promote physical and mental wellbeing, and can be easily incorporated into daily routines.
Talk to a local certified practitioner or healthcare provider before starting any new breathing practices, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.