Lately, I have been daydreaming back on my life when making big life decisions was easy and my greatest stress was what cartoons to watch. Life was less difficult back then as I did not need to decide what to make for dinner, who to vote for, what house to buy or career to have, and certainly not how to manage it all at the same time! Life seems to always be pulling at us whether our job is stressful, home is overwhelming, friends keep calling, kids have lots of need and your partner has a list of errands to be completed. On top of all the regular things we do in our day, we are living through a pandemic which comes with some additional aspects to consider. Life can feel heavy and exhausting at times and when this happens anxiety likes to creep in just to make everything seem worse. Today, I want to tell you my secret when stress and anxiety arise.
Anxiety and stress are buddies in my world, when I start to feel overly stressed, this duo likes to insert themselves to put a wrench in my day. One of the best and simplest ways I try to keep anxiety and stress in check is to do deep breathing twice a day. I do breathing techniques called box breathing, which is breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, breathing out for 4 seconds, and holding for 4 seconds. Take a minute with me now and try it.
Breath in… 1… 2… 3… 4…
Hold… 1… 2… 3… 4…
Breath out… 1… 2… 3… 4…
Hold… 1… 2… 3… 4…
I do this in a cycle of 4 times, once when I wake up and just before I go to sleep. I will also take a few minutes through the day to just breathe when I start to feel stress or anxiety trying to make room in my brain or body.
Deep breathing helps your body to regulate strong emotions or release feelings that your body may be holding onto. Science shows that the part of your brain that manages your breath is directly connected to the activities that regulate yourself.
When you take time to just breathe it calms all the activities that are going on in your brain which can tell the rest of your body that you are safe, regulated, and puts you in a place where logic can help assist you through the overwhelming stress and anxiety you currently were experiencing.
I hope this helps!
- What would it look like in your life if you tried box breathing once in the morning and once at night?
- Once you tried it, did you notice a difference in your body or mind? What changed for you?
- What prompts or alerts do you need to put into place to remind yourself to stop for 2 minutes and just breathe?