The One Stress-Reducing Strategy That Is Guaranteed To Change Your Life
When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.
I know. We like quick fixes. We like our pills. We like anything we can passively do or take that will eliminate any amount of stress or anxiety in our lives.
However, there is a strategy that’s been around for ages that is proven to help lower our stress in minutes. It can be used anywhere, anytime. It’s free and, it comes without a prescription. It’s deep breathing.
Now most of you are rolling your eyes, conjuring images of pretzel-like yoga positions, or some kind of “New-Age” mumbo-jumbo. I know, I know. I thought that too, at first. But as someone with a long history of anxiety and panic disorder, deep breathing has given me back my life and empowered me to successfully deal with the stress life will always bring.
Deep breathing is our body’s internal thermostat, much like the thermostat in most of our homes. When our home’s temperature rises to a certain level, the air-conditioning kicks in and cools the home to its desired temperature. In a similar way, when our body’s internal temperature heats up, we can utilize deep breathing to lower the temperature inside our bodies to a more comfortable setting.
Science tells us that once we become stressed, our heart rate increases, sometimes dramatically. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, increasing shallow, rapid breathing, which in turn raises our internal temperature. In contrast, slow, deep breathing actually stimulates the opposing parasympathetic reaction — the one that calms us down. “If you breathe correctly, your mind will calm down,” said Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College in a recent NY Times article.
Deep breathing targets the physical stress responses in our bodies and not only forces our heart rate to slow, but also helps our muscles to relax, keeping our brains both calm and connected. By slowing our heart rate, we lower our internal temperature and remain better able to productively reason through and find effective strategies to deal with any stressful situation. This is why deep breathing is the one proven strategy that is guaranteed to reduce your stress in minutes. So, here are some of the basics.
- Sitting upright or lying down, place your hands on your belly.
- Slowly breathe in, expanding your belly, to the count of three.
- Hold for a moment.
- Slowly breathe out to the count of four.
- The goal is to increase your breathing to a count of six. Practicing this for 10 to 20 minutes a day.
Practice this consistently, making sure that your breathing is deep from your belly rather than shallow, chest breathing, and you will discover a powerful tool that can be utilized anytime, anywhere, and in any situation. From the boardroom to the living room, from sitting at the dinner table to driving in the car, you can become intentional in your breathing and learn how to use deep breathing exercises to regulate your internal temperature and reduce stress.
If there is one tool that will increase your EI (emotional intelligence) and help you successfully manage life and relationships, deep breathing is that tool. Learn it. Practice it. Make it your “go-to” and you will find increased inner strength and greater peace.
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I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, coffee lover, and wife. My online community lisamurrayonline.com provides a compassionate place in the midst of the stresses and struggles of life. At heart, I am just a Southern girl who loves beautiful things, whether it is the beauty of words found in a deeply moving story, the beauty of a meal cooked with love, the beauty of a cup of coffee with a friend, or the beauty seen in far away landscapes and cultures. I have fallen passionately in love with the journey and believe it is among the most beautiful gifts to embrace and celebrate. While I grew up in the Florida sunshine, I live with my husband just outside Nashville in Franklin, TN.
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my new book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I've discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with herself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891
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