Does stress ever overwhelm you to the point where you feel like you are spinning out of control? https://youtu.be/LIQ4kWqmvME
I think we all have those moments! This week we are going to turn our focus on managing stress through BREATHING.
Stress plays major havoc on our bodies mentally and physically. Learning ways to manage daily stress can have an impact. A simple way to bring yourself in check is by focused breathing. Nothing complicated here! Focused breathing can be done anywhere, anytime of the day and only takes a few minutes. In addition to decreasing stress, focused breathing can also:
There are people who make a career out of teaching people to breathe. I have no formal training on breathing techniques but I have found two that are easy to work into daily life and are quite effective. The first one is a technique I use on nights when I’m having trouble falling asleep. You know how it goes - you’re laying in bed with your heart pounding out of your chest because of a looming deadline, you forgot to do something that day, you sent a text without a smile emoji, you hurt a friend’s feelings back in the third grade - the list goes on and on! But the bottom line is, you aren’t going to sleep anytime soon. On those nights I do the 4-7-8 technique.
The 4-7-8 technique is simply taking a deep breath in through the nose for 4 seconds, holding it for 7 seconds and exhaling through the mouth for a count of 8. Try it for 6 full breaths. On your exhale, think of releasing all the tension of the day. If crazy thoughts return after 6 breaths, go back to your focused breathing. The 4-7-8 of course isn’t limited to bedtime. This can be helpful throughout your day anytime you are feeling a wave of stress or a stress headache coming on.
The other simple technique is the 4 by 4: inhale through the nose for a count of 4 and an exhale through the nose for a count of 4 for 6-8 breaths. You can increase the count both ways up to 8 seconds. Whatever count you use, the important thing is that you are getting your lungs nice and full of O2!
You know it’s good to do it, but how do you remember?
Try putting yourself on a schedule. Just 3 times a day to start. Maybe work in your focused breathing while waiting on your coffee to brew or each time you sit on the toilet, waiting at a red light or just before you begin work, at the end of the work day and then when you lay down in bed.
Whenever stress has us spinning out of control, our breath can become our anchor. Give it a try! And build onto the healthy habit you started last week! H2O + O2 = ❤️