As we approach another possible lockdown, the sense of anxiety is palpable. We worry about our minds, the economy, our children and our elderly friends and relatives. As this worry and anxiety rises, the effects on our bodies become apparent, we move into a fight or flight mode.
If you’ve ever experienced a “knot in your stomach” sensation then this is usually a tightening of your diaphragm muscle. This dome shaped muscle is like any other, it thrives on exercise and the best and indeed most effective exercise is deep breathing. When we actively and consciously breathe fully into the lungs our diaphragm moves downwards to make room for our lungs and as a result our belly expands while conversely the reverse happens when we breathe out.
However, the reverse occurs when we are in a deeply stressed mode. Training ourselves to breathe properly can have a transformational effect on our minds and bodies. Levels of cortisol and adrenaline are balanced with endorphins, our happy hormones. My tip is to set a timer for at least 5 minutes, sit or lie down, put you hands on your tummy and start to inhale, counting to 5, exhale counting to 7. repeat.
Repeat at bedtime and again before you get to of bed in the morning. 3 times a day should begin to re-set your stress reactions. The benefits to be reaped are potentially vast from deeper sleep, more resilience, stronger lung capacity and beyond.
I teach mindful breathing in my yoga and mediation classes each week .Thank you for reading and be kind to yourself.