You can also listen to the Spotify version of this write-up by clicking on the link below. Use your headphones for the best experience. https://open.spotify.com/episode/6TeHkXtpFQpbUO8SbMCRjG?si=2_yrpoPsTwuhjxSMpJFVzQ When faced with a lot of stress it's quite common that we are reminded to breathe. When our thoughts are clogged, the last thing we want to do is focus on breathing or meditate. It is nearly impossible to stay and remain calm when you are amidst your stress experience. There is one thing you can do to keep yourself grounded, which is deep breathing.
We hear this all the time. Breathe when you are stressed. But what is it about breathing that helps to calm us down?
When we experience an increased level of stress, our breathing becomes rapid, heart rate increases, the mouth becomes dry and you know what follows afterward. Stress causes you to follow shallow and irregular breathing. This is harmful to the point that you can initiate anxiety by simply forcing yourself to take short shallow breaths from your chest. Purposefully deep breathing, in turn, signals your brain to calm down and aids in reducing stress and anxiety. On the other hand, nobody likes to show their belly pushed out. So we slowly adopt the habit of “sucking in” our stomach and therefore eventually adapting to chesty breathing. As mentioned before, chesty rapid breathing is sufficient to induce anxiety and intensify your stress experience. Our goal here should be to gain control over our stress and this is why breathing in the right way is important. Instead of breathing from the chest, the breathing should be from the stomach. Yes, let the stomach push out in its natural state! One of the best ways to cope with this sudden burst of stress is to practice diaphragmatic breathing. You can use this to cope with not just daily stress, but for your overall stress management as well. Even though the last thing you want to do is sit calmly to breathe while your mind is racing, diaphragmatic breathing will help you keep you grounded.
How do you breathe- diaphragmatically?
<> First, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Make sure your shoulders are dropped and are not tensed up. Keep your back straight and both feet on the floor, if you are doing this on a chair.
<> Close your eyes to not allow any kind of distractions to make you lose your focus while doing this activity.
<> Keep one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
<> Breathe in slowly. When you breathe your belly should expand with air, while your chest remains in its position as much as possible.
<> Breathe out slowly ensuring that the chest remains in its position and your belly goes inwards. While breathing out do ensure your mouth is closed or that your lips are closed.
<> That's It!
Repeat this for 10 minutes and you can practice it up to 5 times a day depending on the need.
Trust me, when you do this for the first time, this is going to tire you out, however, with constant practice, I can assure you that this will be a breeze. After all, the first few days of trying out something new can always be challenging, but as long as you do not give up within the first few tries, it is going to be okay.