I believe stress is the single worst experience we can put our bodies through. If you don’t believe me, read this. When we are stressed our adrenal glands (which sit just above our kidneys), release stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline raises blood pressure and increases our heart rate, whilst cortisol increases glucose (sugars) in our blood stream, alters immune system responses and impacts the digestive system and the reproductive system.
These days chronic stress is rife and because of it, we are placing our bodies at increased risk of anxiety, depression, heart disease, obesity, digestive issues, sleep troubles and memory and concentration issues. We need to incorporate stress busters into our lives. My number one stress buster/calming tip is diaphragmatic breathing.
Do you ever catch yourself taking short, shallow breaths throughout the day? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. Many of us have forgotten how to breathe properly. Our breath is the easiest way to achieve calm within the body. A big deep diaphragmatic breath reminds our body that it is safe. A safe rested body is healthy body.
I promise that just 20 of these breaths will provide calm. Diaphragmatic breaths activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the pathway that relaxes our body. Find a quiet environment where you won’t be interrupted. On the toilet at work or in bed at night is fine.
Close your eyes and place your hand on your belly to feel the rise and fall as you breathe. If your belly isn’t moving, you aren’t breathing deeply enough. Inhale as deeply as possible for at least three seconds, right down into your belly. Hold for three seconds, then exhale until every last bit of breath is released. Aim for 10 seconds. Repeat at least 20 times or until calm has been achieved.
You can read more about my favourite stress busters here.