I once attended a physiotherapy session after hurting my lower back and as I was talking to the therapist about my symptoms, she suddenly stopped me and said,
"Do you know you're speaking like you're out of breath?"
I was pretty shocked to realise that she was right. I suppose I'd been doing it for ages, but no one had ever pointed it out to me before.
That physio session did little for my back (all I really needed was trigger point self-massage), but it did change my life. The shock and revelation I felt that day about what I was doing to myself started me on the road to relief from my bad, old, stressful life and symptoms. Quite the turning point.
We all now that to breathe properly, we need to use our diapragm and not our chest to draw in the air; filling our lungs properly like a pair of bellows. It's easy to practice by putting one hand on your belly and one on your chest, and trying to make your bottom hand move when you breathe, while your top hand stays as still as possible.
But for those really stressful times, such things tend to go out of the window and you breathe quick and you breathe shallow. If tension is a big part of your life you can find yourself hardly ever breathing deeply; like me, you can find yourself speaking like you're out of breath all the time.
But if you can find a way to breathe deeply, even when tension strikes, then it's pretty much impossible to stay tense. It's instantly calming. It's true - this really works.
We can all benefit from practicing deep breathing and the very best exercise I've found is the 478 breath; detailed here by Dr Weil as part of this set of three breathing exercises.
The 478 breath is also amazing for getting you to sleep at night - it makes me yawn every time I practice it anyway!
And I can also recommend the third exercise for calming the mind and training it to shut up and give you a break now and again. If you can do this for just 15 minutes a day, it does wonders for your concentration and creativity and calmness. It gives me peace where once there was total turmoil....
Not tried the first one - rarely need to speed up, it's calming down I have a problem with!
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