The Holiday Season can be very stressful! It seems we loose ourselves, in the chaos of over committing with social engagements, hosting family & friends, travel plans, gift buying. It's a lot!!
Even if we try to work at being more calm it gets you, people tend to be more anxious and angry during the Holiday season, is bound to happen, someone driving aggressively on the round, retail employees exhausted and grumpy, packed restaurants and grocery stores.
This is the part of the Holidays where we have no control, but... we can control how we can respond so we can stay on a positive and peaceful mindset regardless of the chaos in our surroundings.
To help you out- I'm sharing 3 easy breathing exercises to help you overcome stress and get back your Zen.
3 Types of Breathing Exercises to Practice
Try each exercise find which one works better for you, if not all and give them a little practice so you can remember how to employ them next time you feel over whelmed. It's so powerful to have this kind of tool to take control back.
1. Sets of 4 counts (Inhale- Hold - Exhale)
This is my go-to easiest technique that I employ almost every day. It's great to use if you feel anxious and want to calm down quickly. As soon as I start breathing quickly, I feel as I can't catch my breath, I start with this breathing technique and it relaxes me almost immediately.
How it works:
1. Sitting quietly wherever that might be or laying down, close you eyes, relax your shoulders, straight back.
2. Inhale slowly counting to 4- you lungs should expand and be as full as possible.
3. Hold your breath counting to 4, stay calm focus on your breath.
4. Exhale slowly counting to 4, from top to bottom.
5. Repeat- 4 more times. Congrats! with just one small breathing exercise you have lowered your stress levels.
2. Cleanse Stress Release
This is a simple yet very effective breath work, it takes a bit of visualization or/and connecting with body.
How it works:
1. Sit quietly, hand on your laps, palms facing up.
2. Take your focus and intention to your third eye (in between your eyebrows), deep inhale and exhale.
3. As you continue to breath, in your inhale now visualize a white beaming light entering through your third eye moving towards your throat, chest, belly... and continuing.
4. As you breathe outwards, exhaling, envision all of your stress leaving through your mouth and nose.. floating away disappearing. You can sigh deeply as you release your breath, and cleanse.
5. Try to breath in for 4- 5 seconds and breath out for more than 6 seconds with a dip sigh.
6. Continue as many times you need , until you feel the stress gone.
3. Visualizing Your Happy Place
This breath work model is very simple and perfect for a morning or night more meditative breath work. And/or if you feel your stress levels are really high, and the exercises above didn't do the work this one will do the trick. This exercise will shift you more a place of stress to a place of gratitude.
How it works:
1. Lying down or sitting down, try connect with your body and try to locate the place where you feel a sense of pressure, heaviness. If you can't locate it, it's OK , place right hand on your chest, left hand above right hand.
2. Close your eyes, and as you inhale, and exhale take your focus to a place or memory where you have felt, light, joyful, worry free.
3. As you continue to breath, remember or imagine how it looked, how it smelled, how it felt. Visualize....
4. If you have any distracting thoughts, just let them pass by, like cloud in the sky and take back your focus to your happy place.
5. Keep this up for 10-15 minutes, or, just as long as you have time!
What are the Benefits of Breath Work?
We have heard this more than once in our lifetime: "just take a few deep breaths?' We don't even know how or why it works, but we just do it. Because we know that if we do it we automatically start feeling better.
Well there is a scientific reason to it, on why it works, slow breathing, helps your parasympathetic nervous system scale back that response to stress and train your brain to do the opposite: chill! What happens next is your cortisol levels decrease, your adrenals don't over work by consequence you feel more calm less stressed. Slowing your breath resets your nervous system.
Practicing breath work has been scientifically proven to:
Decrease the stress hormone cortisol.
Increase focus and attention.
Decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Increase your immune system’s ability to fight inflammation and illness.
Please share, I know everyone needs a bit of help- feeling less stressed and more calm during this Holiday Season.
Lots of love,