Toxic Stress 101

>> Saturday, July 21, 2007

Deep breathing; it's not just for prank callers anymore. This is one of the easiest, most effective ways to reduce toxic stress.

When we breathe normally, we really just do conversational breathing. That is we breathe in, speak for a few seconds while breathing out, then breathe in again. It's very shallow breathing. We probably do this all day long, even when really need more air. Some even say yawning at the end of the day is really just our body's way of finally getting the air it needs.

The deep breathing I'm talking about here is done by taking a deep breath in through your nose and really feeling the air push it's way deep down into your lungs. Try it. Just when you think you can't take in any more air, breathe in a little more. Bet you didn't think your lungs were capable of holding that much air. Breathe out through your mouth.

You can do this literally anywhere. In meetings, walking down the hallway, on the phone (hold the phone away from your face so the caller doesn't think your sighing), even while making a presentation.

After you do this a few times, you'll notice a few things right away:
  • You'll feel more relaxed due to the additional oxygen
  • You'll actually feel more in control, because you are controlling your own breathing
  • You'll feel like you caught your breath

After doing this on a regular basis, you'll notice it's kind of addicting. It'll instantly calm you and help you focus. It also feels really, really good to the get all that air in your lungs. Over time just doing this little thing will help you in your quest for a nontoxic life.