Overwhelming stress has become an increasingly common characteristic of contemporary life. While stress is a necessary stimulant for human function, as in creativity, learning and survival, in extreme levels it can be destructive to our overall nervous system. When stressed, our body floods itself with chemicals that prepare it for a “fight or flight” reaction. Living with these chemical reactions on an ongoing daily basis, wears down body function and adversely affects our immune system, heart rate and blood pressure.
A key tool to help manage our stress and regroup is breathing.
Take a moment to breathe!
Have you noticed how you breathe in the morning when you wake up, or when you are relaxed? Breathing is a necessary component to healthy living and mind-body regulation. It helps reduce tension and stress. Deep breathing helps send a message to the brain to calm down and relax. Deep breaths help open up airway passages and constricted blood vessels, which allows blood to flow more freely throughout the body.
Additionally, breathing puts the mind and body in a healing phase. It helps you stop the stressful pace of your day, collect your thoughts, think more clearly and put perspective on what’s important…You! and your Health! As busy women we are constantly running and scheduling in a frenzy to keep up with our daily expectations. Some days we plan every moment of our day! Perhaps we need to “schedule to breathe.” As creatures of habit, we tend to follow a routine. Adding “breathing” to our daily schedule, and following it consistently, can become a good habit for reducing stress.
It is time we schedule ourselves some “breathing time,” perhaps at lunchtime, or in between phone calls or after a meeting. Deep breathing only takes a few minutes to do and can be done anywhere, anytime. Deep breathing starts with a relaxed sitting and straight back posture. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach and take a deep breathe in through your nose, filling your stomach. The hand on your stomach should rise while the hand on your chest should move very little. Exhale from your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale. Aaaaahhhh! Try it again several times, while closing your eyes, and think of something relaxing for a meditative effect.
Congratulations Wonder Women! You have just given to your “Self,” a few moments of healing and relaxation within an overwhelming day. Add this technique to your list of self-healing activities…more to come!
Posted not a moment too soon!
Hope this brought some relief! “Just Breathe!”
Appropriate breathing techniques have changed my life and over all perspective on how to better deal with critical decisions and events that effect me on a momentary,
daily and long term basis. I actually train parents and professionals to breath in the exact same manner you described.
Ron, thank you so much for sharing your personal and professional experiences on breathing exercises. It is always an ongoing learning and sharing experience for all of us.
I have been taught several breathing techniques to deal with anxiety – However, my problem comes when breathing – I become more anxious in focusing on it – I guess Im not doing it right – any suggestions…I have a hard time going to Yoga for this reason – the anxiety…