Are you holding your breath these days? With all the medical, economic, political and environmental upheaval upon us, is it any wonder?
Breath is life. It might be our most faithful lifelong companion as well as a barometer of how we’re perceiving our world: When we feel stressed, as in such times of uncertainty and instability, we hold our breath and breathe more shallowly. But we don’t have to stay in that fight/flight/freeze response; we can use our breath to calm and ground ourselves so our perspective and experience become more positive.
One tried and true ancient breathing technique I frequently teach my clients is called 4-7-8 Breathing. If you’re not familiar with it, I encourage you to try the following:
Inhale through your nose to the silent count of 4 (a little less than 4 seconds in duration); hold that breath for 7 counts; exhale through your mouth—an audible release is nice—for 8 counts. Repeat this breath cycle 3-5 times.
When you’re more familiar with this process, you can do more cycles. (If I awaken at 3 a.m. in the morning unable to tame my racing thoughts, I do 10 of these 4-7-8 breath cycles and typically fall right back to sleep!) 4-7-8 Breathing actually allows you to chemically shift your body from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system or relaxation response. It’s a fantastic ally you can carry with you and call upon wherever and whenever needed.
Though we’re all experiencing challenging times, we can learn to better handle them by minimizing our stress and maximizing our inner resources. Breath is one powerful way we can make that therapeutic shift. There are many other proven skills and practices that can become healthy habits. Our frenzied thoughts and difficult emotions don’t need to define or control us! If you’re interested in learning how to help yourself become more empowered, especially during times like these, I invite you to consider the services at Journeys to Healing: wholistic life coaching, reflexology, mindfulness coaching, grief recovery and Inner Journey Collage©. I’ve also begun developing a series of “wellness” products that help reinforce healthy habits. Check out my website: www.journeystohealing.com. I can also be reached @ firstname.lastname@example.org & 360.317.4526.
Please continue to honor the state and county protocols that keep us and our larger community safe during this pandemic. And whenever you discover yourself holding your breath and feeling overwhelmed by it all, remember that therapeutic 4-7-8 Breathing.
Here’s to focusing more frequently on what we can control!
May I, we & all beings discover breath as an anchor for calming inner seas.
Deb~Journeys to Healing
Deb Langhans has worked in the wellness field as a coach/counselor, writer & speaker for over 25 years. She currently owns & operates Journeys to Healing on San Juan Island where she offers "wholistic" life coaching, mindfulness & grief recovery coaching, reflexology, Inner Journey Collage© & a developing line of products designed to encourage healthy habits.
Most services are available in Deb's studio or via phone or Zoom. For more information or scheduling, please go to www.journeystohealing.com (website). email@example.com (email), or 360.317.4526 (texts preferred).