It’s possible to completely de-stress your mind, using only your breath, in just 5-minutes.
Let’s start with a thought experiment:
Imagine if first thing this morning, someone deposited $86,400 into your bank account.
First off, hell yeah that sounds awesome.
Now, if $10 of it blew away in the wind on your morning walk, would it completely ruin your day?
Unless you’re Ebenezer Scrooge the answer is probably no. Sorry Ebenezer, no disrespect.
Now think of it this way: every day is made up of 86,400 seconds. Yet something that happens in the span of 10 seconds can easily cause us to stress the rest of the day.
You spill your coffee on the walk to your car, or you realize you forgot to get gas last night and you’re going to be late.
10 seconds of frustration turns into a whole day in the dumps.
All of this everyday stress can pile up real quick, and that is no Bueno.
Stress Sucks. De-stress Rocks.
“Stress and anxiety trigger neurocircuitry that was designed to be used sparingly to deal with life-or-death threats, not on a daily basis as a response to gnarled traffic, a toxic boss or work overload,” says Lynne Everatt, co-author of The 5-Minute Recharge.
“Chronic stress has a corrosive effect on the brain linked to degeneration of the hippocampus (the brain’s memory center) and impaired functioning of the prefrontal cortex that can manifest in our lives as depression, dementia, and impaired executive function.”
Unchecked stress can also weaken the immune system, raise blood pressure, and lead to fatigue, insomnia, and other things we just don’t want.
There are endless strategies out there for managing stress. From techniques like meditation and Yoga to exercises like journaling and negative visualizations.
But, it appears that the easiest and quickest way to de-stress is a simple breathing exercise.
Breathe to De-stress
The way we breathe directly influences our body and brain. It’s a fact.
Controlling our breath can lead to physiological and psychological changes and all that magic happens through the nervous system.
Our nervous system has two main branches; the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS).
Think of the SNS as an accelerator that stimulates our fight-or-flight response. When we are chronically stressed, the SNS is rippin’ and roarin’ non-stop.
Now the PSNS is the brake. It is responsible for calming the body, decreasing the heart rate, reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels; slowing down everything that the SNS speeds up.
The best way to engage the PSNS, or turn on the brakes, is with a sustained period of deep diaphragmatic breathing. A complete de-stress method and the key is our breath.
Now, remembering to focus on an unusual breathing pattern when we are feeling stressed out is definitely not the easiest thing to do.
The best way to start is with a 5-minute breathing exercise. We have one specifically for you; check it out here.
Practicing this breathing technique when you are stressed, or anytime you want to relax, will help you create a pattern in the brain.
Over time, you might even catch yourself automatically shifting to a deep breathing pattern when you feel stress creeping in.
And that is why we practice.