It is typical these days to be living a life of extremes; we tend to be extremely busy, extremely stressed, extremely tired…the list goes on. This extreme existence is causing us to be out of balance, not in line with our natural healthy state, and ultimately can lead to much dis-ease within us.
Our bodies are able to handle some extremes, but only in the short term. We have our built in fight or flight system that activates to cope with extremely stressful or dangerous situations. This system is incredible and does so much to help us cope; when we trigger this response our body goes into action to help us get through it; our pupils dilate, our heartrate increases, we get a hit of glucose and a shot of adrenaline and systems that aren’t immediately needed like digestion and bladder are restricted. This all happens to get us ready to charge, to fight or to run.
And it happens fast! Within seconds these responses turn on, and the idea is that when the stressful situation has passed we slow down and return to our natural state of balance and harmony, and all those triggered responses are reversed.
When the triggered response lingers too long
What many of us are experiencing in our day to day lives is staying in that triggered state most of the time. Being chronically stressed, never getting the rest that we need and not being able to switch off from the busyness in our minds has become normal in our society, and yet it isn’t natural.
We aren’t made to live in the extreme all the time, and our bodies are constantly trying to get us back into a state of balance through homeostasis, the process of regulating all of the systems in the body so that everything can work as it should.
Unless we find ways to create more balance in our lives this regulating process will simply stop working. We can liken it to driving a car at 100 miles an hour without ever stopping for petrol; everything’s great for a while yet at some point it’s going to break down.
So how do we create balance when we have such limited time and so much to do?
In a world where time is our most limited resource and the last thing we need is more information, more stimulation and more things to do, the simplest practises are the best and the easiest to implement.
One of the reasons we are so out of balance much of the time is because we are at the whim of our thoughts that run through our minds constantly!
When you can get out of your head and into the present moment, you will find some peace and quiet, a place where you can relax and find that sweet spot of silence to restore balance.
And one of the most powerful ways to switch off the mind and tune into the peace of the present moment is to…
Sometimes we are just one breath away from restoring balance within us, and that simple action will create a reaction that our bodies are craving.
Our breath is one of the most powerful tools that we have, and we can use it to change our mental, physical and emotional state within minutes.
Through the simple practise of conscious breathing you can:
- switch off the fight or flight mode
- lower your heart rate
- increase the flow of oxygen to the body and the brain
- release tension in the body
- reduce the level of stress hormones in your body
- increase energy
- improve focus and concentration
- feel more relaxed
And it really is as simple as taking some deep breaths. Doing this simple breathing exercise multiple times throughout the day will give you untold benefits.
3 minute breathing exercise
Step by step guide
- Wherever you are take a moment to get comfortable
- Begin breathing in and out through the nose (if possible)
- Bring all of your awareness to your breathing
- Close your eyes
- Take a slow deep breath in, letting your abdomen expand with air
- Hold for 2 seconds
- Slowly exhale releasing all tension from your shoulders, face and jaw
- Consciously slow your breathing down lengthening each breath
- Physically feel your breath as it moves through your body
- If your mind wanders gentle bring it back to the breath
- Repeat for 3 minutes
Repetition is the key to mastery
If you come back to this practise repeatedly throughout the day it will soon become a habit, and then it will become part of your daily life, and you will have a built in mechanism that can restore your body to balance whenever you need it and you won’t even need to try.
That is the beauty of conscious breathing, all it takes is shifting your attention to the breath and doing this simple practise that over time can have a ripple effect that will change your life.
We deserve to feel well, to feel balanced and calm and for the systems in our bodies to be working at their best. I find this type of practise so empowering because I know that there is always something I can do to help myself feel better, and it always starts with one simple breath.