Stress and anxiety seem to becoming part of living in our modern world. Whether it’s your life or your work that you feel is at the core of your stress, breath can be the driving force for change.
We are told that a certain amount of stress is good for us; it motivates us and helps us get things done. This is seen as good stress and I have no argument with that. I have utilized this form of stress positively myself.
Stress becomes a problem when it is present for a major part of each day. This can lead to depression, anxiety and stress related illnesses.
What is also not that widely known is that excess stress and anxiety can also block creative thinking. This makes it quite difficult for us to see our way through challenging situations or access new ideas to create change.
Challenge brings change. It’s creative thinking that provides solutions to challenges. This is important for both our life and our business.
It has been proven scientifically that our brain produces waves of energy. There are four levels of brain waves. Actually there are five levels, but scientists are only currently acknowledging four. These are utilized when performing certain activities:
Beta brain waves
We access these frequencies when performing activities, which require fast thinking. This includes conversations, multi tasking and engaging mental skills.
Alpha brain waves
We tune into these frequencies when engaged in a creative activity or in light meditation.
Theta brain waves
Is a higher frequency but slower wave and we access this when we are in deeper meditation or in trance.
Delta brain waves
This is the frequency we access when in deep sleep.
Stress and anxiety is experienced through rapid thinking. This produces a high level of fast Beta brain waves.
Many of us are already aware that we can reduce stress levels by practicing regular meditation. This is consciously choosing the Alpha frequency or even Theta.
We can also access this frequency by practicing deep breathing, which is a form of meditation in itself. Other practices include Yoga, QiGong and TaiChi.
The more regularly we participate in these practices, the easier it is to manage stress levels. This is because they relax our nervous system. And of course in turn this activates the creative part of our brain so we see situations differently.
Anthony Robbins talks about the energy of excellence in his book Unlimited Power. He regularly practices the physiology and psychology of excellence, one of the success principles of NLP. Tony states that, “The power of breath is one of the six keys to having a powerful indomitable physiology”.
Our physiology (body) and psychology (thoughts and emotions) greatly influence each other. So it’s easy to see why the power of breath can be one of the keys for achieving excellence, both for our life and our business.
And we can access this potential for excellence by nurturing ourselves. By practicing daily deep breathing. And also incorporating other regular practices I mentioned earlier into your schedule.
Breath work is a very simple but powerful practice you can regularly include in your day
• Choose a time each day to focus on your breath. I personally include this in my regular yoga practice too.
• Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
• Choose a comfortable posture. You may prefer to lie down, sit on a chair or sit on the floor with legs crossed. Close your eyes, keep your spine straight and body relaxed.
• Begin by emptying your lungs. Take a very slow deep breath in through your nostrils. As you inhale expand your abdomen, taking 50% of the air into the abdominal area. Take the remaining 50% air into your rib cage and your chest, expanding that area.
• Hold your breath for a count of four and then very slowly exhale through your nostrils, pulling your abdomen into the base of your spine. It is important that this process is relaxed and not strained.
• Hold your breath out for a count of four. Then inhale again. Repeat this process for a period of 5-10 minutes.
This is also a great practice when you feel overwhelmed or can’t think straight. It will slow down your brain waves; enabling you to think more creatively. You will be able to see situations from a different perspective and with more clarity. Because of this you will more easily find solutions and create the changes you want.
When you make this a daily practice, you relax your nervous system, relieving anxiety and stress. The increase in oxygen levels also builds your immune system. This can dramatically improve your level of health. And remember your health is the greatest driver on anything you want to achieve.
I believe that’s plenty of great reasons to remember to breathe.
Stress and anxiety can be really debilitating. With the help of a good coach you can learn how to create more balance in your life and work which will assist in managing stress. There is also the option to join a regular yoga group. Regular practice builds strength and flexibility in body and mind, alleviating stress. The next course can be accessed HERE