Thanks for stopping and taking time to read this post.
Everyone has one of these. I probably have one at least 3 times a week. And being a parent and busy entrepreneur chances are you also experience this on a regular basis.
What am I talking about?
A Stressful Day
Yep, Stress. The killer disease of the 21st century, stress takes a hold of your life. It creeps up on you and before you know it, you wake up and without realising it you are slap bang in the middle of a stressful day.
What can you do to avoid or at least reduce being a victim of stress? Is it possible to carve out a way to relax, connect with others and have fun? Or is this all there is?
Life Is Hard
Life is hard enough. You have enough on your plate – children, school work, afterschool activities, domestic chores, pressures from work, plus that underlying feeling that you really ought to be taking better care of yourself and have some sort of Me-Time without sacrificing family and work time.
I often look at my life and reflect on the days when I was mega-stressed.
Are You Stressed?
My girls are teenagers now, but I remember how tired and worn-out I felt when they were babies, toddlers going to nursery. I would spend the day at work, anxious, clock watching, desparately willing time to stay still so I could do what I had to do at work and regain energy and focus, before rushing home to pick them up.
Ecah night I would be faced with three pairs of eyes, keen to play and have me read to them. It was too much. I didn’t have the time or energy. Plus with the demands and expectations of work I felt like an elastic octopus, ready to snap at a moment’s notice.
But like most of you I carried on….
Do You Know How To Unwind?
These days however, things are different. I still get stressed, feel out of control and at times exhausted, but now I have skills and tools which help to bring me back into alignment.
And the best tool of all is my breath.
The Power of Breath
Your breath forms the link between your mind and your body. Have you noticed that when you are sad or unhappy you gulp and sigh or when you are angry and frustrated you tend to take sharp intakes air?
You can use your breathe to calm and steady your mind and energise you when tired. Sometimes when I am ratty and moaning, my girls will look at me and mutter, “Calm down. Mum. Breath.”
I will explain the theory about the breath in another blog, but for now, here are five beginner breathing exercises which you can use straight away to calm yourself down when you feel frustrated, anxious and drained. Once your thoughts are settled, it is easier for you to get up and go and use your time wisely.
Five Beginning Breathing Exercises
1.Observe Your Breath.
Sit in a comfortably position. Make sure your back is straight and body relaxed. You can sit on a chair or on the floor in a comfortable cross-legged position/meditation cushion. Take a steady breath in through your nose and slowly exhale through your nose. Gradually, turn your attention to your breath and just observe the way you are breathing. Don’t change or force anything. Just sit still and focus on the movement of your breath – from your belly to your ribs and upper chest.
Anytime you notice your attention wandering away from observing your breath, simply acknowledge your thoughts and gently bring your awareness back to the breath. Stay still and continue in this practice for 2-5 minutes.
2. Counting Each Breath
Sit as before in a comfortable position. Become aware of your breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose and count “one”. Slowly breathe out and count “two”. Breathe in and count “three”, breathe out and count “four”…. Continue counting your breaths up to number 10. When you reach number 10, go back to number one. Repeat for 2-10 minutes. If your mind wanders during the practice and you lose concentration, just return your attention to the breath and begin counting from number one.
Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise
1. Lie down on your back and place your right hand on your lower abdomen. Place your left hand on your upper chest.
2. Turn your attention to your breath. Focus your awareness on your lower abdomen and as you slowly breathe in through your nose, be aware of your right hand rising as you breathe in.
3. Send this breath to your upper chest and be aware of your left hand rising as you continue to breathe fully and deeply.
4. As you slowly breathe out, you will feel your hand lowering as your stomach lowers.
5. Repeat this deep diaphragmatic breathing for 5 – 10 rounds.
Sitting comfortably, take a deep breath in and shrug your shoulders up to your ears, breathe out and release, smile and relax your jaw. On your next breath, breathe in and whisper the word ‘relax’ then breathe out, and whisper the word ‘relax’. Sit quietly and repeat this sequence for 5 – 10 rounds.
Sitting comfortably, take a deep breath in through your nose and slowly breathe out, through your nose. As you breathe out pretend to be a humming bee and hummmmm as you breathe out. You can be a noisy bee or a very quiet softly humming bee. Repeat 3 – 5 times.
5. Rainbow Breathing
Sit in a comfortable position, with your spine straight and body relaxed. Close your eyes and visualise a rainbow. See all seven colours of the rainbow. Choose any colour or combination of colours from your rainbow. Imagine slowly breathing in this colour/s through your nose and slowly breathing it out. Allow each breath to gradually deepen and travel throughout your body. Feel the tension in your body leave you as breathe your colour in and around and through your body. Continue with this practice until you feel ready to get up and reconnect with your day.
What’s Your Favourite Breathing Exercise?
Humming Bee Breath is my favourite….once you have had a go at these practices, let me know which you found most useful.
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