And Breathe......Relieve the affects of stress in a few minutes with deep breathing
Wednesday 7th August 2019
Most people understand the benefits of training their body, eating well and moving more in the day. Training the mind, however, is very different subject.
Gaining control over your eating habits and exercise habits will do wonders for your mental wellbeing, but we can also train our brain to improve focus, concentration and improve our capacity to handle stress.
Mindfulness and meditation unfortunately has bracketed as something only hippies and yogis do while humming and sitting crossed legs. This has built a stigma that has stuck for a long time. It is, however, essentially a mental workout increasing your capacity to fully focus for longer so that you are able see more and hear more; you will be able to pick up signals in body language, make better decisions and stay at the top of your mental game for much longer in the day.
Mindfulness is a skill; an addition to your artillery and it will allow you to process more information. It has been used through generations to improve mental performance and you should try it to. I would argue that strengthening your brain is even more important than strengthening your body.
A calm mind performs better than a stressed mind every time. This all starts with control.
The breaks you schedule in your day may be as little as a few minutes to relax between meetings. Although this may not seem long it will allow you to take some deep breaths - this simplest way to stimulate your state of rest and digest.
Deep breathing relieves stress and anxiety due to its physiological effect on the nervous system. Breathing slowly and mindfully prompts the hypothalamus, connected to the pituitary gland in the brain, to send out neuro hormones that inhibit stress-producing hormones and trigger a relaxation response in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system works in conjunction with the sympathetic nervous system, triggering the body to secrete hormones to decrease blood pressure and heart rate, inducing a relaxation response. Breathing deeply and mindfulness helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to trigger this response.
Your diaphragm plays a big role in breathing, increasing the volume of your thorax and so inflating your lungs. This helps you to breathe deeper and longer. Your diaphragm is like any other muscle: if you don't regularly use it, it will become weaker reducing your capacity to consume oxygen. When you practice deep breathing you strengthen your diaphragm, allowing you to oxygenate your blood more efficiently.
Many people do not breathe using their diaphragm properly and this alone will leave them in a heightened state of stress. Breathing deeply is the simplest way to bring you calm; it is a critical tool to better manage stress. Try this: before you go into a challenging situation, take a few deep breaths to fill your lungs with oxygen. You'll feel the benefit straight away: you will be calmer and your blood will be more oxygenated, so you will be mentally sharper, and better prepared. Shallow breathing, however, will ignite your fight or flight response, leaving you feeling anxious.
A simple technique for deep breathing is to take five to 10 really deep breaths into your diaphragm. Place your hand on your belly then breathe deeply in through your nose for four seconds, letting your belly expand and ribs separate, holding the breath for one second. Then slowly breathe out through pursed lips - as if you were blowing a whistle - over an eight second duration until your have no more air in your lungs, and your rib cage has pulled towards your belly button.
It is important to breathe in through your nose, as it takes longer to fill your diaphragm so your lungs are able to extract more oxygen with each inhalation.
Taking moments of mental recovery throughout your day is essential for your focus, health, and happiness. Deep breathing can be your secret weapon to better manage