Written by Lucy Hendricks
Are you a worrier? Are you constantly stressed? Women tend to be worriers. They worry about everything and everyone before taking care of themselves. If there was an imaginary cup that would dictate how much stress women can handle, many of them are definitely letting their cups overflow, taking in more than they can handle. When is the time for women to do something that makes them happier and healthier? Do they have to wait for the rare vacation, the random spa days or the occasional girls’ night out? Would it be possible for women to add something to their crazy schedules that could have a major positive impact on their health and not let their cup overfill?
What could women do daily that could have such a huge impact in their lives?
The Answer: Breathe
Something so simple makes it hard to believe, but if you’re willing to give it a try, you might be surprised what five minutes of breathing can do for someone who takes care of everyone and everything else.
Have you ever paid attention to your breathing?
Is it nasal? Is it rhythmical? Is it effortless? Is it noisy? Is it comfortable?
The way you’re breathing right now could be impacting your health in a positive or negative way. It all depends on your answers to those questions. The more stressed you are, the more your breathing will increase. The more relaxed you are, the more your breathing will slow down. For someone who is super stressed all the time, how do you think they’re breathing? What part of their nervous system do you think is more dominant: the Parasympathetic response (rest and digest) or the Sympathetic response (fight or flight)?
Correct: the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response – the response that’s needed if a tiger is chasing you or if you’re having a panic attack right before giving a speech in front of a big audience.
Slowing Things Down
The problem is, most people are walking around breathing like they’re being chased by a tiger, but in reality, they’re just sitting in traffic. The body might not be doing anything stressful but because of the way some people are breathing, their brains are under the impression that something stressful is going on. If you’re always breathing like you’re about to give your first speech, it will add to the long list of factors of why you’re constantly stressed. And if you’re reading all these articles and research coming out on why it’s so important to focus on mental health, you know being in a constant state of stress has serious long-term health consequences.
It’s time to take away from your overfilling stress cup so you can handle all the things you can’t control, such as your crazy work schedule, your kid’s soccer games or your sleepless nights from night shift. Bringing awareness to your breathing allows your brain to take a break from constantly worrying – anytime and anywhere! Your kids could be going crazy, throwing food all over the kitchen, but if you’re doing this exercise, you’re still taking away from your stress cup. The more you can take away from your imaginary stress cup, the more you can handle without overdoing it. Taking in more than you can handle will only result in a weakened immune system, low energy, disease and perhaps even an early death.
Take five minutes a day to do the below exercise and take time throughout the day to make sure your breathing is nasal and silent.
- Tongue goes on the roof of the mouth
- Mouth shut
- Breathe in through the nose for three to four seconds
- Breathe out for six to eight seconds
- Repeat for five minutes
Count the seconds in and out. Make sure your breathing is very slow and 100 percent silent. If you find breathing in for a count of 3-4 and out for a count of 6-8 causes too much discomfort, try adding two seconds to the inhale and take two seconds away from the exhale. If you struggle with this, it means you really need it!
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