... when I’m feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or frustrated, one of the first thing that is impacted is my breathing.
I often don’t give a second thought to breathing. It comes naturally, why think about it, right? On the other hand, when I have a cold, or I’ve been exercising getting a good breath is just about all I can think about. There are so many things outside of the physical that have an impact on each breath taken.
For me, when I’m feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or frustrated, one of the first thing that is impacted is my breathing. Each breath becomes short and shallow. I tense up, which impacts the amount of air I take in. When I acknowledge the emotion, the first thing I do is take a long, slow, deep breath. I hold it for a second or two, then as slow as I can, release it.
Unmanaged stress can cause a lot of problems. One of the best things we can do is trigger the body’s relaxation response, the opposite of your body’s stress response (Corliss, 2016). To start you must breathe deeply. This means you will feel the movement of inhaling breath in your abdomen, not your chest.
- Place one hand on your chest, one hand on your stomach, just under your ribs.
- Take a long slow deep breath, counting from 1 to 5 as you inhale.
- Where did you feel movement with the inhale? Abdomen? Great! Chest? Try again and breathe deeper.
Getting good, deep breaths is the first best step to dealing with stress and anxiety. Breathe easy, breathe deep.
Corliss, J. (2016). Six relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/six-relaxation-techniques-to-reduce-stress