Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Ever been told to just breathe? About as useful as being told to calm down?
The truth though, is that our breath is one of our most effective tools in managing our stress response.
When we are in fight or flight (parasympathetic nervous system), our bodies are getting ready to run away from that tiger or wrestle that crocodile. This is because our brains don’t really distinguish between emotional and physical danger. Part of the physiological response to stress is that we stop breathing properly and more specifically, stop breathing out fully.
When we focus on extending the exhale - the brain registers it as the danger having past. It then, almost like magic… down regulates the parasympathetic nervous system and actives the sympathetic nervous system - also known as rest and recover or rest and digest.
Now that you understand how it works, why not give it a try today? Why not try it now, in fact?
Take 2 minutes to focus on extending the exhale to at least double the length of your inhale. Then after 2 minutes notice how you feel.
If you’re a client of mine, this maybe a good reminder if you’ve let the habit slide. If so, remember to stack it!
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