Friends often ask me what they can do for their anxiety, stress, indigestion etc. Since it comes up often I figure they are universal themes we all experience depending on the day. So over the next few weeks I will be helping you set up an easy personal toolkit to help find some balance during those stressful moments, or days or weeks! We’ll add a new tool each week.
Easy tool #1 – Simple Deep Breathing
Let’s start simple because let’s be honest if it’s simple we might actually do it. Right? What can be more simple than breathing. It’s already within you!
Some reasons why a few minutes of deep breathing is an easy, effective way to clear your head, calm you down and generally make you feel better:
– you can take it anywhere
– you can do it at your desk, in the kitchen, on the subway – wherever you find a moment
– breathing gives sustenance to all your internal organs, your body and your mind
– breathing calms you down, slows things down and gives the body a chance to let go and energize
We often don’t realize how shallow or quickly we are breathing. When you get anxious or annoyed your breathing gets faster and tighter which cuts down on the amount of vital oxygen you are sending to your lungs. This affects how much energy you have. Notice during the day if your breathing is shallow or deep, and if you are running late or someone pisses you off – notice what happens to your breathing. I bet it changes.
When you feel anxious, like you are going to lose it, you’re exhausted but still have tons to get done or you just need a little balance and clarity try this:
Simple Deep Breathing
Wherever you are just stop for a moment, sit if you can.
Close you eyes. Take a moment to notice if you are clenching your jaw and try gently wiggling it around a bit -this helps to relax your facial muscles and make more space for the air to flow. Give your shoulders a few little rolls to help let the tension release.
- Slowly , without forcing – Inhale through your nose to the count of 5
- Hold the breath in for the count of 2
- Exhale slowly through your nose for the count of 5
- Repeat for at least 1 minute (or even longer if you have the time !)
While you are doing this try your best to tune out whatever is going on around you and just listen to the sound of your breath. Try and allow the breath to go right into your belly and feel your belly expand on the inhlale and soften on the exhale. Allow any clenching muscles in your body to let go so that the tension can begin to release.
When you are done you will have increased the amount of oxygen in your system and that makes your body and mind happy. Which means you will have more energy to get done whatever it is you need to do!
I use this whenever I feel anxious,tired, cranky or when the kids are driving me crazy and I want to run away to a deserted island – I try and breathe instead. It’s cheaper and it works.
Try this technique when you wake up in the morning to start your day, during the day as needed and for 5 minutes before going to bed. I hope it helps! if you notice even small changes in how you feel that is a good thing.
We can dive into more breathing techniques in the future but for today I just wanted to share something simple that you can go try right now. Seriously – go try it.