When we feel stressed we are almost not breathing anymore. Our thoughts are already in the future: we think of what could happen, what to do, of never making it , etc….. We are not present, our body and mind are constantly alert and active, and the body can’t rest.
Our body needs to rest after an activity; there must be a harmony between active and passive. Our autonomic nervous system (sympatic and parasympatic system) is based on that: it regulates our active time and our resting time.
For example, our body will not start digestion when we are doing sports. It will need a resting period. This is regulated by the ANS. When our body can’t slow down and rest for a longer period, especially when people are very stressed and can’t slow down, the organs and our whole being will get tired and fatigued, which leads to illness.
We can observe that, when under stress, we literally stop breathing. Our breath becomes very superficial, just enough to survive. That is why we are not in contact with our body, our feelings and needs anymore, and we don’t know where our limits are. We are not present at all.
As our brain is very sensitive to the exchange of oxygen in the blood, this lack of oxygen will affect our clarity and creativity, as well as our concentration. The lack of oxygen will also affect our energy support and our vitality. It is important to know that we get 75% of our energy through the breath.
Breathing is very powerful tool for stress management and burnout prevention and for all our physical and emotional health.
We all manage stress differently, as we all have different life experiences. Our breath mirrors our life (see article ‘how you breathe is how you live’).
The ‘stressor’ (trigger of stress) can be the same for various people, but the reaction to stress will be different for everyone. That is where we can make a difference with a good breath. Because breathing is connected to feeling. By breathing again fully we get in touch again with ourselves, with our body and our being, with our needs and limits.
Breathing properly can change our lives forever. Vitality, joy, confidence and authenticity are only a few words to explain the wellbeing that breathing can give you.
Breathing is quite simple but not always easy at the beginning, but once you have learned it, you have a tool that you can use in any moment and wherever you go.
As a little exercise, you can sit comfortably on a chair or lay down. Then put a hand on your lower belly and take a big inhale. Your belly should rise on the inhale, and go flat on the exhale. Let the exhale go, like a sigh, without pushing it out. Then take another inhale, and let go. Continue like that without pausing, for a few minutes.
The most important is to breathe in your lower belly. At the end, rest for 1-2 minutes. You should feel already a bit more relaxed and present. Do it regularly, if possible every day and before stressful situations.
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