Tag Archives: stressful situations

Better Breathing for a Better Life (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.33.10 PMWhen you find yourself in a situation where you get stressed, frightened or caught off guard, what’s the best thing to do?

Scream? Sometimes. : )

But seriously, what did mom or grandma or your loved one tell you to do?

Breathe.

Yes, it’s as simple as that.

But time and time again, while walking around the streets of San Francisco (and while being in the car with certain eh hem, friends with road rage) I witness screaming and feel their blood boiling. What good does that do?

I try to make it a practice to breathe deeply every morning.

Here’s how:

I love filling up my lungs and expunging all the air and imagining my lungs deflating like a balloon. I do this almost every morning with a 20-30 minute yoga routine.

I’m an early riser, so I like to take in the stillness of the morning silence with a meditation practice. People may get freaked out and discouraged about “not knowing how to meditate.” The truth is, there isn’t a “right way” to meditate. Simple focus on your breath, deep breath in…deep breath out.

Other times when I’m running and gunning, I just take three quick deep breaths. If you’re over-programmed like me and have a busy schedule, set a reminder on your phone to go off three times a day to remind you to breathe.

Here’s a video I made for you that will help you focus on your breathing. This is what I usually see on my morning run at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Breathe in when the waves come toward the shore. Breathe all the way out when the waves recede. It’s only a minute long, but the effects are long lasting.

Enjoy!

Feel better?

According to Men’s Journal, here are some stats about how deep breathing can be aaah-so-good for your health:

Relax: Breathing is an “accurate and honest barometer” of a person’s emotional state. Train your breathing to maintain your calm and lower stress levels.

Maximize Potential: The average person uses just 50 to 60 percent of his lung capacity. Breath training expands the lungs, and better oxygen intake means higher athletic performance.

Improve Health: Research suggests that developing proper breathing habits can play a role in treating conditions like asthma, acute bronchitis, ADHD and sleep apnea.

Don’t we all feel better after taking a few deep breaths? The next time you feel your panties or boxer briefs getting in a bunch, smile and relax (those butt cheeks). Namaste!

What other breathing exercises help you get through your day? If you follow our @goinspirego Instagram feed, you’ll notice that I often post pictures of beautiful cityscapes and snapshots of nature. Surprisingly, many people tell me the pictures remind them to slow down, be present and breathe. I’d love to hear/see what inspires you to breathe. Please share in the comments below.

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Dilute the Toxicity of 10 Common Stressful Situations

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 11.58.08 AMStress trespasses into our lives no matter where we live and work. Since living a stress-free existence is virtually impossible, the next best thing is to know how to dilute the toxicity of the stress-inflammation response. The next time you have an inexplicable headache, a churning stomach, a backache, a pain in the neck, or experience quick shallow breaths and walk around distracted, try these stress-busting strategies.

How to dilute the toxicity of 10 common stressful conditions

  1. Angry at a family member, friend, colleague, or salesperson? Instead of sitting on a hotbed of anger, try doing an exercise to squeeze the anger out of your body. Put your palms together in prayer position and press. Then go do something creative with all that tumultuous energy.
  2. Irritable and frustrated? Don’t stand with your hands on your hips ready to lash out. Instead place your hands behind you on your lower back and stretch gently backward. This will help you consider what you are not seeing about the other side, signaling you to re-frame your irritation into a kinder state of being and let it go.
  3. Fatigued at work? Get up periodically and move around, to avoid compression of the spine and achy joints. Stretch your eyes by looking out a window. Take a coffee break with a co-worker for energy synergy – coffee plus being social will elevate your mood and make you feel alive and alert.
  4. Feel anxious every time the phone rings – place a post it on the phone to remind you to breathe deeply before you speak. Breathing deeply oxygenates your brain to think clearly and your voice will sound natural without the quaver.
  5. Feel like an impostor because you have lost your self-confidence? Rotate your shoulders back and down to achieve good posture for an immediate confidence boost. The body signals the brain to feel empowered with this postural shift from a slump to attention.
  6. Headache due to over-analysis? Close your eyes; place your forefingers on each temple and rotate your thumb gently over your eyebrows and under your eyes – like windshield wipers.
  7. Has your life turned into a soap opera? Dilute the drama by embracing the ordinary; simplify and keep your expectations reasonable.
  8. Feel that you are outside the inner circle of the queen bee? Aim to be a soul climber instead of a social climber. Volunteer and think about what’s right with your life and be very grateful for all that you do have. Realize that you can have it all, just not all the time.
  9. Are you overwhelmed with info which is causing you to be distracted and depleted? Tune out daily to restore your natural rhythm. Do what meditators do – they narrow their focus.
  10. Are you spinning out of control, whether a project at work, or in a relationship? Know when to stop what you are doing – often as important as knowing when to begin.
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