B R E A T H E. When times get tough, you have a powerful tool to help you find some peace - your breath.
Many of us don't give much thought to our breathing, as it's automatic. However, any form of stress can change our breathing pattern - leading to more shallow breathing and in some cases, even holding our breath. Constant stress can lead to under breathing, which ironically causes more stress.
It was only once I learned about this, that I started to becoming aware that I was doing this. It has been discovered that 80% of people suffer from 'Email Apnoea' - holding their breath when typing and don't realise they are doing it. I discovered I was one of them!
I've learnt to become more mindful with my breathing in daily life over the years, yet it's always a challenge whenever stressful environments and situations present themselves.
With a little awareness, we can consciously shift into abdominal breathing, which has been shown to calm the autonomic nervous system and create a relaxation response. It also unites body and mind and can help you calm and control a scattered mind.
A favourite of mine I often use at work, (a highly stressful environment), is:
1. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, right behind your front teeth.
2. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4. Release your breath from your mouth with a whooshing sound for a count of eight.
5. Without a break, repeat the whole cycle again 3-4 times.
Breathing is simply one of the best stress management tools you can use —it’s simple, quick, and free, and can be practiced anywhere, at any time. Relax and breathe easy.