Super Stress Buster Plus
The American Institute of Stress (AIS) reports that there is one “Super Stress Buster” that allows our relaxation response to settle right in. It is highly recommended for everyone, including children. You can use it anywhere, it is super easy to do, and it’s even free. What is this Super Stress Buster? Just take 10 slow, deep abdominal breaths!
The key to using breathing to reduce stress is learning to use abdominal breathing. That means breathing fully from your abdomen (the bottom of your lungs) near the diaphragm. Taking intentionally slow, deep breaths reduces stress and its negative impacts on our body. When we are stressed, we take quick, shallow breaths, robbing our body of the benefits that a full breath provides.
To start, notice your breathing right now as you are reading this. Are you breathing rapidly or slowly? Are your breaths shallow, or are you breathing deeply? Where do you feel your breath in your body? Where do you feel the expansion in your body?
Now let’s learn abdominal breathing. Place one hand on your abdomen right beneath your rib cage. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, breathing all the way into the bottom of your lungs. Your chest may rise slightly, but your stomach should rise noticeably and it should push your hand up and out. When you see your hand moving up and out as you inhale, you know you’ve got it.
Pause for just a moment with a full breath, and then exhale slowly and fully through your mouth. Control your exhale so that it lasts longer than your inhale. As you exhale, try to release and let go, relaxing all the muscles in your body. To allow the relaxation response to really settle in, make sure to take at least 10 abdominal breaths. Breathe steady, keeping the breaths slow and smooth to keep yourself from getting dizzy. The AIS recommends 20-30 minutes of abdominal breathing each day, but start with 10 breaths and build up when you can.
What about the PLUS? You know what’s coming, right? Once you have the Super Stress Buster abdominal breathing technique down, just add EFT Tapping for the PLUS! The easiest way to do that is to start tapping on the side of the hand as you inhale. No words are needed. Tap on the top of the head for your exhale, then tap on the eyebrow point for your inhale, side of the eye for your exhale. Continue moving through all the points for each inhale and exhale. You can even use the finger points. How does that feel? If you prefer, you can tap on one point for a full breath as you inhale and exhale, then move to the next point. So far so good?
Breathe, tap, and notice what and how you feel. This will be your amazing Super Stress Buster Plus activity for the day. Write down any thoughts, words, memories, or emotions that come up as a result of your breathing and tapping, and you can tap on those using the Basic Recipe when you feel ready.
I’ve posted about the benefits of breathing before and I am sure I’ll post yet again about the miracles that come from mindful, intentional breathing because it is that important to our quality of life. For reducing stress, nothing is easier or more effective. I’d love to hear how it works for you.
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.