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Remember to Breathe

Are you feeling a little more stressed than usual these days?

You are not alone, we talk to many people and there is a noticeable rise in stress levels. It’s probably no surprise, given there is a lot of uncertainty in the world as we are dealing with covid, the situation in Russia and Ukraine and locally – a change in government, rising interest rates and the increase in household expenses.

Did you know that there is a tool we all have immediate access to: breathing.

It might sound simple, but when done properly, breathing can make the difference between panic and resilience, being able to carry on. Research shows that different emotions are associated with different forms of breathing.

For example, when you feel anxious or angry, your breathing becomes irregular, short, and fast. When you feel joy or relaxation, your breathing will be regular, deep, and slow. And therefore, when you follow breathing patterns associated with the different emotions, you can begin to feel those corresponding emotions.

So next time you're feeling your stress levels rising, try changing the ratio of your inhale to exhale. When you inhale, your heart rate speeds up. When you exhale, it slows down. Take some time to think (this is probably the hardest part, recognising the need to stop!) and then try this: breathe in for a count of four and out for a count of eight — this will calm your nervous system and allow you to think a little clearer and possibly even keep the stress away. You may need to repeat this several times until you feel yourself start to calm.

There is a really interesting Harvard Business Review article with more information that can be found here: “Research: Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress.”

Feel free to share this with a friend, colleague or family member. Remember kindness goes along way.

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