Unsettling times can be very stressful. I thought I’d share a technique with you that calms the body’s system – helps move it from a ‘Fight/Flight reaction’ to a calmer ‘response’. Perhaps you’ve noticed that when you’re stressed you hold your breath or pant.
This technique brings attention and awareness to what you are doing, how your body is reacting and where you are. It gives you a chance to notice if you’re breathing, and to slow your breath down if you’re panting. That already feels better.
The benefits of this are to your body and your mind. You’ll begin to notice your body respond as your shoulders sink down, jaw relaxes and tension is released and muscles soften. You’ll feel more present and grounded, more clear headed and calm; better prepared to make decisions.
What is this technique?
Yup – it’s something I practice daily and have found really helps during times of stress. It is a great way to create calm in the moments when we feel helpless and frightened or stressed – and a useful tool to add to your ‘self-care toolbox’. It quickly becomes a useful habitual practice, and helps you feel more prepared, proactive and in control especially when things are unsettled.
The key is to inhale slowly through your nose, and exhale slowly and steadily, as if blowing out a candle a few feet away.
Step A) Breathe in slowly, easily and as deeply as feels good. Then, exhale slowly, easily and steadily until you feel your lungs are clear.
Repeat this 4 or 5 times throughout the day. Modifications are below. You can repeat any of the steps or combine them. You may find that certain situations call for a different step – or more repetitions. That’s ok. Listen to and trust your body.
Step B) As this technique gets easier, you can add a count – I like to count to 4.
So – Inhale, 2, 3, 4 – Exhale 2, 3, 4
Step C) And then the next level can be: Inhale 2, 3, 4 – HOLD the breath 2, 3, 4 – Exhale 2, 3, 4
Step D) Close your eyes – imagine the most peaceful place you’ve ever been or can think of and stay there as long as you like – for as many breaths as you like.
Inhale Peace 2, 3, 4
Hold Peace 2, 3, 4
Exhale Tension 2, 3, 4
I truly hope this helps. If you have any questions about this, please let me know. If you want to have a ½ hr or 1hr SKYPE session to do this together, I would be happy to do that, too.
Your wellness is a priority. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
Nicolette Eus, CHt