It happens to all of us, we're living our best life and doing just fine (so we think) when all of a sudden, we realize we've been adding too many “tasks” to our daily routine and suddenly we feel overwhelmed. We realize we haven't been doing so well in the self-care arena, yikes! In this post I will cover four simple and highly effective things you can do to get yourself back on track.
IDENTIFY YOUR “ANCHOR”: We all have different things that anchor us and keep us centered when we're under extra stress. For some it might be a daily workout, for others it might be getting out in nature every day, eating specific foods, proper hydration etc.
For me it's my morning ritual (meditation, yoga, journal, breath work, conversation with the Divine and setting my intentions for the day). The point here is to know what your “Anchor” is and even in the busiest, most stressful times, do not let yourself stray from this.
IDENTIFY YOUR ENERGY DRAINS: Know who and what depletes you (foods, too much social media, too much computer time, certain people, focusing on what's wrong rather than what's going well in your life, lamenting over the past or worrying ahead to the future, and the list goes on) I think you get my drift. Take a few minutes right now to write down those people and things that drain your energy and then commit to setting boundaries around these. Find a friend or colleague to hold you accountable and who will offer moral support until this becomes second nature to you.
Two of the biggest energy drains of all (in my humble opinion):
SCHEDULE TIME TO HAVE NOTHING SCHEDULED: I cannot stress this enough. Call it quiet time, meditation, or contemplation. All of the great masters made a point to sit quietly for a period of time each day where they were not working, socializing, walking, or thinking. Just sitting in quiet stillness and reflection.
MAKE TIME TO PLAY: Simply put, we need to schedule one day off every week. On this day have nothing scheduled, just let things flow. No work. No errands. Stay away from electronics and all things that keep us “hyped” up or stimulated. This is your time to regenerate, to play, to explore, to be in nature, to just “be.”
Remember, we are already enough, we already have enough. We've got everything we need, right in front of us, if we just slow down and observe and “listen” to the quiet stillness that speaks to us ever so softly. I encourage you to do it right now.
Our answers are inside each one of us, but we won't hear that all knowing ever present voice inside if we don't become still and “listen.”
As we continue to explore why more and more people are shallow breathing right now,
or breathing in that “fight or flight” mode – we want to discover the different types of breathing that will assist during your different emotional states throughout the day.
We already know that improper breathing over time wreaks havoc on our health - both emotionally and physically. In my previous two posts I covered why breath work is so important and you were introduced to “Neutral Breathing.”
Today we will cover the “GROUNDING BREATH”: This breath is mainly used to help you fall asleep, OR get back to sleep. Sometimes it might be needed during the day if someone has really “pushed all your buttons” and you can't talk yourself down, but please use it mindfully and sparingly in that case.
Basics to remember prior to doing any breathing exercises:
GROUNDING BREATH: Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose. Inhale to a count of four, but exhale to a count of eight. After ten rounds your heart rate and blood pressure should drop as you stimulate your parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system.
For all of you who are dealing with increased anxiety, insomnia, or just can't shut your brain off at night, I hope you'll give this a try and let me know how it goes! I use this breath often when I wake up at night – it works!
Did you know right now a lot of people are breathing in a "fight or flight mode?"
All. Day. Long. This mode is also known as “shallow breathing.” This pattern of breathing occurs throughout most of our work day and we're not even aware of it! Over time this will wreak havoc on our overall state of health.
Did you know that proper breathing can decrease your heart rate, lower cortisol levels, boost digestion, change the pH of your blood, and help with your quality of sleep at night?
In a previous post I covered why breath work is so important. In this post I'd like to introduce you to one (out of three) specific types of breathing that will help you in different types of situations throughout your day. Let's get started with the first one that we will call “Neutral Breathing.” (The next two types will be covered in my next two posts)
Basics to remember prior to doing any breathing exercises.
Sit upright in a chair with your spine straight, OR lie down on the floor with your knees bent. Relax your body: Your shoulders, your jawline, your neck. Place one or both hands on your lower belly. Close your eyes.
NEUTRAL BREATHING can be your “go to” practice, it's always a good option any time you
need balance. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your nose. Inhale to the count of
four and exhale to the count of four. Slow and steady. Repeat this 10 times or more.
This count is half your normal rate of breathing. Let your belly and lungs really fill up and
bulge out like a balloon, making sure not to lift your shoulders. They should remain in a neutral
position for the most part. IF you're feeling down, this neutral breath will bring you back up. IF you're feeling a bit too hyped, this breath will help bring you back down.
Please give this a try and let me know how you feel! It is my “go to” breath now. All. Day. Long.
Just Breathe. How many times have we heard that? Sounds simple, right?
Well maybe not, join me in taking a closer look at a newer, popular trend: Breath work.
Did you know that 90% of us are using less than 50% of our breathing capacity?
Yes, most of us are “shallow” breathing throughout our day and don't even realize it.
When I'm at my desk racing through emails and feeling time pressures, I find myself either
holding my breath or tensing my neck and shoulders and breathing mainly from my upper chest.
Did you know this is a very ineffective way to breathe? If I asked you to stop right now and
take a really deep breath, chances are good you would lift up your shoulders as you do a long,
deep inhale. NOT EFFECTIVE. “Optimal” breathing starts down in our bellies and works its
way up. Our belly will expand like a balloon that's being blown up. Our shoulders barely need to move.
So what's the big deal you ask? Shallow breathing does not fuel our bodies
with adequate oxygen and energy. Your breath is a sure fire way to dive deep into your state of health, and improve your health if you've plateaued.
If you're lacking energy in your body, you need only look into your breathing patterns.
Your breath affects everything! Your mental clarity, digestion, metabolism, how your cells function, circulation, and sleep. In “yogi” terms, the formal practice of controlling our breath is called “Pranayama.” This is the source of our prana, or “vital life force.”
So in conclusion, if you want to optimize your health, enjoy more consistent energy levels throughout your day, and improve your overall performance, then learn how to optimize your breath. Optimal breathing will give you mental clarity, thus helping you manage your emotions and provide you with a steady flow of energy.
Would you like to learn more and start an amazing breathing journey with me?