Be Still and Breathe
We all have this amazing relaxation tool with us everywhere we go: our breathing.
Most of the time, we don’t even notice it. Breathing happens automatically and we go about the business of our life.
Or is that busy-ness? Because we stay so busy, we may forget to take a moment or two to stop. Be still and breathe. It’s such a simple act, but not always so easy to do. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to stop and breathe. Then there’s the resistance because we have so much to do; how can we possibly stop?!
“I don’t have time to stop and be still! Are you kidding me? There are the kids, my partner, the laundry, my job, the house, the dog, the bills…I could go on and on.”
And unfortunately, we do go on and on.
The weight of feeling overwhelmed and stressed sits on our heads and in our necks and our shoulders, weighing us down emotionally. When we feel it increasing, we think we need to move faster, do more. But in reality, when we are stressed, our body feels threatened by something it can’t deal with.
This triggers the body’s fight, flight, or freeze reaction, which ultimately leads to the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol keeps our blood sugar elevated and suppresses the immune system, all to help protect us and to help us deal with this perceived threat.
In addition, the hormone adrenaline gets secreted, which decreases the digestion process and increases our pulse rate and blood pressure. This response works great to help the body deal with imminent danger, like a tiger about to pounce. Once the tiger goes away, all our systems can get back to their normal routines.
But what if this perceived threat and the resulting stress don’t stop? Then we live in a sea of stress hormones, and that is not a good thing. Our bodies don’t function as well under chronic stress. We don’t do our best thinking, digesting, sleeping, or performing in this scenario. So it’s crucial to reduce stress levels every chance we get.
One quick and easy way to do that is to take a breath with complete awareness. We can turn our complete attention to the simple task of breathing, even when we’re on our way to the next task.
What’s to notice about breathing?
- We can be aware of the temperature of the air being inhaled.
- We can notice how far we feel the air move into the body.
- We can notice if the chest or belly rises as we inhale.
- We can notice that everything releases back down as we exhale.
- We can intentionally lengthen and deepen the breath.
- We can focus on the tip of the nose and take at least three slow, comfortably deep breaths.
Breathe slowly enough so that you don’t feel light-headed. Then return to normal breathing and notice how you feel. How long did that take – maybe two minutes? Is it worth it? Definitely! Use this quick and easy method to release, relieve, and reduce stress as often as you can. The benefits of mindful breathing are huge!
Discover five quick and easy breathing practices in my book called Take One Breath: The Art of Managing Stress Through Mindful Breathing.
Keep Calm and Tap On!
Please remember: It's important to contact a professional if things feel too big for you, whether it be a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified EFT practitioner. Never discontinue your current medications without first consulting your doctor.