We’ve all had days where we’ve had to keep our emotions in check so we could perform our best. You may have a meeting or presentation that needs to impress your employer or a client. There may be a relative that tests your patience – “rubs that raw nerve” so to speak – and you don’t want to start World War 3 at a family outing. Even, perhaps, the moment every parent dreads: your kids are being especially difficult on the ONE day you need them to behave.
These types of things – some less serious – are all part of daily life. Now the question becomes, what do you do about it? How do you respond to this type of scenario where at the end of the day, you’re proud of your behavior. I call it the “mirror test” – can you legitimately say you were the best version of yourself when put to the test?
Fortunately, we have a “cheat code” for when life tests you! Breathing exercises are a wonderful way to prepare for a situation that you know in advance will be dicey. Or – when faced with an unexpected scenario – sometimes it’s even worth it to go excuse yourself to the bathroom and do these exercises there. That is much better than doing or saying something you’ll regret later.
Web M.D. provides some great thoughts & examples1 that are relevant here. A few suggestions: choose a comfortable place, make it a routine time of the day, and wear comfortable clothes.
I’ll highlight some of my favorite exercises:
Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air, with one hand on your stomach, the other on your chest. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower as you relax. Take 3 more full, deep breaths, as you breathe deep into your belly.
This technique I call “thinking results into existence.” Close your eyes, then breathe in and out a few times, but when breathing out imagine all the stress/tension leaving your body. In your mind, as you breathe in, think “I breathe in peace & calm.” Breathe out and think “I breathe out stress & tension.”
Finally, this technique is called “progressive muscle relaxation” – the idea being, you breathe in as you tense a muscle group and you breathe out as you release it. Lie down on a comfortable place with a pillow. As you breathe in, start with your feet, which you tense up as you inhale, and relax your foot muscles as you exhale. Move up and do the same with your calves, arms, shoulders, neck & face.
Now, if you have time for a yoga session, that will really provide optimal results. On the Allwell.io app, we have videos that are catered towards beginners all the way to advanced yoginis. There are also sessions ranging from 5 to 45 minutes. Check it out and take control of your breathing – and lower your stress levels!
1 Web M.D. “Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief” – https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-relief-breathing-techniques