Sometimes life can get stressful. Some months the s**t of life just seems to keep on piling up until you feel like your head might explode from stress, that you’re constantly on the verge of bursting into tears of frustration (or punching someone in the face), whilst trying to hold it altogether with your “No, it’s all good in here” smile.
If this sounds familiar, here’s something to try, that has a surprisingly big impact on feeling more like “you” again.
Put your hands on your belly.
And take a deep breath. One so deep that your hands move, and your belly expands.
Then let it out (let it out with a sigh if that feels good).
Then take another breath. Right down deep.
And let it out.
Follow all the sensations of the breath coming in and out.
Keep doing that that for one minute.
Count how many deep belly breaths you do in one minute.
Remember that number.
This is your mindful minute.
Repeat this number of breaths in this way every time you feel your head, lower lip, or fist wobbling. Then do it a few more times for good measure.
You can do it in your car. On the couch. Walking the kids to school. Cooking dinner. At your desk. In a waiting room. With your eyes closed or open.
This my friend, is breathing. And its surprising how often we forget to do it!
You might not believe that something so simple can have such a big impact. But it does. Your body isn’t necessarily as complicated as your to-do list.
It takes in some pretty straight forward messages. So when you’re stressed you tend to breath high in your chest - much like a gazelle being chased by a nasty old Lion. Your body gets flooded with stress hormones so its ready to act, inflammation increases ready for imminent wound attack. And it makes you feel wobbly.
So sometimes we have to remind ourselves to breath like a big old buffalo rolling around in the mud. Our body gets the message and steps down, reduces its inflammation response, digests some food, switches to repairing any niggles, kills some viruses. Then it relaxes in the sunshine.
Oo doesn’t that feel better.
Speaking of feeling better. One of the things I’ve been doing this last year is becoming a certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher.
I'm a big fan of mindfulness and MBSR because I used it to help me get through cancer treatment, and now 6 years later to be able to levitate and heal small children.
Okay those last two aren't actually true.
But it does enable me to live a more rich and deeply fulfilling life than I otherwise would, or as Jon Kabat-Zinn says "to live life as if it really mattered".
I know mindfulness is a bit of a “buzz” word at the moment, but MBSR is where it all began. It’s considered the gold standard of mindfulness that all the research is based on. You know the research that shows how your brain structure changes (frontal cortex gets bigger); stress, pain, inflammation and blood pressure go down, and immune function goes up to name just a few.
If being less stressed, getting sick less and having a giant brain sounds interesting my next 8-week course runs in May.
This works… not just because I say so (which I do) but because we got participants to take a perceived stress scale before and after the course and on average they had a 42% reduction in stress. And that was right before Christmas! Imagine the effect in May!
Until next time peeps, remember to breath!!!
Want help to move forward after cancer treatment? Then sign up to Life 2.0 and get back to living life!
Ready for change, but don't know how:
Health coach, Mindfulness teacher, Mother, Bee Pollen consumer. "You want health? Well, health costs, and right here is where you start paying in sweat" (tee hee - actually its really rather pleasurable and fun!)