You breathe approximately 20,000 times per day! Your heart beats approximately 60 to 80 times per minute depending on your fitness level. You inhale and exhale about 15 to 20 times per minute.
Your breath is a great teacher. It tells you much about your current physical and psychological state but under most circumstances you may not even be aware of the simple action of breathing. The first thing you do when you come into this world is to take your first breath and the last thing you do when you leave this world is take your final breath.
One thing that probably effects your breathing every day is stress. This can take many forms from work, relationships, dealing with a problem or driving the car. Whatever triggers your stress will ultimately affect your breathing pattern without you even noticing, that’s until your breathing rate increases and your heart beats faster. You may now start to feel anxious and perhaps your emotions feel out of control.
Does this sound familiar? If yes, what simple steps can you take.
Unconsciously, you have moved into your sympathetic nervous system and, as a consequence, it is likely that the muscles in your head, neck and shoulders have become tense. Your adrenal glands will have started to produce adrenaline – the ‘fight or flight’ hormone – and cortisol.
Once these changes start to happen your awareness may have switched to what is happening inside your body. For most people this is not a pleasant feeling, although for some it is the adrenaline rush they crave to stay motivated. Does this sound familiar?
If you are aware that you are experiencing these feelings on a frequent basis, you may be ready to do something about it. Being aware and taking positive steps to resolve the cause of the problem could improve your life style and health.
What can you do to stay calm and in control?
As soon as you notice changes in your body happening due to stress then, if at all possible, remove yourself from the stressful situation. Obviously, depending on where you are and what you doing will dictate on how you deal with the situation.
If possible, go to a quiet place for about 10 minutes and focus on your breathing.
Either find a seat or lay down on your back with your knees bent allowing your body to respond to gravity – this is known as constructive rest position. Place your arms a little away from your sides with your palms facing up to widen across your collar bone.
Focus your mind on your breath until you can bring your body back into a state of homeostasis (balance and equilibrium). Inhale through your nose for one count, hold your breath for two to four counts and exhale slowly through your mouth for two counts. Allow you belly to rise and fall without forcing it.
This will eliminate toxins and fully oxygenate your body. It will also start to regulate excess adrenaline and cortisol levels and help you feel calmer.
If you are unable to lie down, go outside to a place where you can stand or sit alone and focus on your breathing for up to 10 minutes using the same method.
Once you feel calmer and back in control, it is important to make a note of what triggered the problem. What can you do to reduce this from happening again?
Learn to breathe and look after your body!