Life likes to throw us surprises, am I right? 2020 seems to be like if a storage room full of fireworks that went up into flames. The surprises are loud, dangerous, and numerous.
With life changing on a daily basis, many of us are stepping up our self care and mental health routines to alleviate some of the pressure and stress. Others have become nannies, teachers, cooks, and work full time, and have no idea how to get everything done.
Our bodies may feel more on edge than before, or vigilant, and rightly so, with a pandemic still looming in the air, mental health issues surfacing (or resurfacing) and a news media that profits from us feeling horrified.
Life is stressful enough without a pandemic looming in the air, and stress compromises our immune system, sleep, and general well-being.
So, if you’re looking for one easy, scientifically proven thing you can do every day to reduce stress and and feel better? It’s deep breathing. Belly breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing.
The flight or fight response we experience in relation to stress convinces our subconscious that we are in danger, and we need to use our energy to either flee or go to battle. Our conscious mind knows better, and we can calm the urge to fight or flee and lower cortisol, improve our immune system, if we can just remember to take a few deep breaths.
When you feel the stress rising in your chest, remind yourself to breathe.
I’m taking an e-course this week on growing your online business, and at the end of every module, the instructor reminds us to take a deep, “focus breath.”
My therapist reminded me to take three “unnaturally deep” breaths when I started to feel stressed, to communicate to my body it is not in danger.
My cousin, who is a licensed MD posted a video tutorial on deep, belly breathing this week.
I felt compelled to start doing yoga again first thing in the morning, which incorporates deep breathing and movement throughout the practice. It’s been a game changer in reducing stress throughout the day, and I love starting my day with a workout and breath work. Cat Meffan is my favorite virtual yoga teacher, and she has tons of free videos on YouTube.
I’ve been increasing my focus in my daily meditation practice (15 minutes, first thing in the morning, with coffee, in bed,) and it helps me build the habit of deep breathing.
It seems the universe is trying to remind me to take breath work seriously, and so I am, and it’s helping, and I implore you to set a reminder on your phone to breathe deeply, into your belly, as deep as you can stand, hold it, and release. Put little notes around your house or in your car to remind you. Shoot, I have a niece who has it tattooed on her wrist, and I think that’s a fabulous idea!
I also like to breathe into my belly for five seconds, hold for five seconds, and then take another five seconds to release.
It’s as simple as that. Just breathe. Breathe slowly. Fill your belly. Forget about having a flat stomach. Fill that sucker with oxygen, hold it, and let it out slow.
You deserve to take a moment to yourself. You deserve to reduce your stress levels, and improve your sleep and immune functioning. You deserve to take time out, time off, and time away. Remember to breathe.
Sending you my love,