Last week I brought up the topic of breathing correctly and how it can be an easy tactic to relieve stress and protect against all the harmful affects that stress can have against one’s health. In your career, can you think of times when you should have taken a step back from the situation and given yourself a minute to breathe and you could have been able to think more clearly or handle something more objectively?
When you are at work, it is the perfect opportunity to practice proper breathing techniques. If you are more relaxed, and hence less stressed, your posture, your attitude and your abilities will show the improvement. I will admit, that this is something I need to work on. We, as a society, let ourselves become so busy and so scheduled, that amazingly enough, we actually forget how to breathe correctly, one of the most basic essentials of life!
Many other relaxation practices, such as yoga, aromatherapy, stretching, etc., involve deep, cleansing breaths. Deep breathing can be practiced anywhere though, in hand with these methods, or on its own, right in your office chair. The average person, when being conscious of it, will notice that their breath is coming from their chest. However, you get more oxygen when you do proper deep breaths, which come down from the abdomen, rather than short shallow breaths from the chest. This deeper breathing, which gives you more oxygen, is what alleviates those anxious feelings.
As advised by helpguide.org, a good description of how to breath deeply for relaxation and eliminating stress is as follows:
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
Let this be your homework this week, to practice being more at ease and stress-free by breathing correctly and deeply. Try it at work, and even at home before bed for a more restful sleep.