Understanding Stress- Ways of Coping
Use a bridge analogy to think about stress: when a bridge is carrying too much weight, it will eventually collapse.
The reality is that most of the things currently on your bridge can’t be completely off-loaded. So, the other thing that you can do is to strengthen your bridge, so that you are better able to cope with the demands and pressure of your life.
How? By breathing. It sounds simple, and it is, yet it’s often underestimated because of this very reason.
Oxygen provides energy to all parts of the body. A lack of oxygen will lead to mental sluggishness, lack of focus, depression and anxiety. However, most of us are used to ‘shallow breathing’; using only 25-30 per cent of our lung capacity. Practicing deep breathing will allow your lungs to fill with more air, increasing the oxygen reaching the brain, helping to increase calmness, concentration and focus.
Give this a go:
- Sit or stand in a comfortable and relaxed position
- Imagine a triangle that starts at your belly button and the corners are at your hips
- Inside that triangle is a ball or a balloon
- Every time you take in a breath, imagine that ball or balloon filling up with air
- Take a nice slow deep breath in through the nose and fill your belly up with air
- Hold at the top of the breath for 5 seconds
- Slowly exhale through the mouth, pulling the navel to the spine
- You can do this just a few times to release tension, or for several minutes as a form of meditation
- If you like, you can make you throat tighter as you exhale, so the air comes out like a whisper. This type of breathing is used in some forms of yoga and can add additional tension relief
Thought for the day: No matter where I am or what I am doing, I can always use the power of my breathing to calm myself down
‘The Stress Management Society’