First, let me just say….ow. I can’t walk straight. My legs are wobbling, it hurts to stand up, my arse feels like it’s broken and I’m writing this in a bathtub I may not be able to exit. I’m back … Continue reading
I find myself holding my breath way too frequently: when I am waiting for a decision at work to be made on a candidate I’ve presented, when my to-do list far exceeds my normal life expectancy, and when I’m particularly worried that someone will notice I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth*(ew) in my rush to get to work.
I get stressed. I get anxious. I worry, about the important stuff and the totally non-important stuff. And I just found out hey, scientifically? Holding your breath apparently just makes all of that bad stuff worse.
Apparently, all that yoga stuff and meditation nonsense has some real validity to it: beyond the allure of the “in” exercise and the promise of a smoothie afterwards, there is a lot that we can do in the way of lowering stress, reducing anxiety, and achieving mental clarity if we make a conscious effort to take long, slow deep breaths. Remember to breathe OUT all the way too, or you will defeat the purpose.
When the idiot you work with (I just assume every place has at least one) does something to frustrate you, run in the bathroom and sit for a few minutes and slow down your breathing. Make it deep and even.
When you have a report due, and Excel is kicking your proverbial ass, go outside for 5 minutes. Again, breath deeply. Even if it is ridiculously hot outside, changing your breath and your environment can really help you get a fresh perspective on your problem.
You may feel like you have no time at all to do even that much: but if you take a few moments to recharge your brain, and quiet your heart, the oxygen that you take through slow breathing has massive restorative and energizing properties. Taking a few minutes to make your mind function more effectively will ultimately save you a lot more in the long run.
And even if you’re not stressed right now? Do the breathing exercises anyway. Try to do it a few times a day – maybe treat it like endurance training. That way, you’ll totally have it down the next time the poop hits the fan and you could really use some perspective and a highly functional mind.
*as a disclaimer, I *do* keep a spare toothbrush at work for these emergencies. 🙂
I’m not just blowing smoke with this statement: I just completed a test of it myself.
It is amazing how much negative self-talk and talking down to myself happens in this head. The things I tell myself I can’t do, the things I tell myself that I am not. But about an hour ago, I got to thinking a little too much, and I got a little mad at myself for buying into such nonsense. I decided to challenge a few of my negative assertions:
- Test Assertion One: I need my husband to put in the new car seat. I don’t know where this one came from except somewhere along the way I started doubting my innate ability to build and follow directions. (Actually, in fact, it’s just the directions thing. I’ve always viewed them as a backup plan. My husband disapproves and scoffs.)
Result: Utter Bunk. Annoyed at tripping over it and full of fire, I just went outside and installed that darn car seat, tricky buckles and latches and all. AND I tested it out with my daughter and she fits in it. I am 99% sure I did it right; regardless, I no longer have to stare at the damn thing sitting in the box a moment longer.
In the current mood I am in, my husband may well come home to find that the new shower head installed and the bathtub caulked. Well, probably not. But I totally could.
- Test Assertion Two: Because I am so out of shape I can’t do anything. Now, I don’t mean this in absolute terms: I actually walked this morning like a good girl. But I did so hesitantly, gingerly. I’ve been putting off weights, the elliptical, etc. recently, coming up with all kinds of excuses. When I was walking the dog a little bit ago, I started getting pretty down on myself – I could actually feel my arse jiggling and the judging eyes of the local geriatric community.
Result: Bumpkus! In what can only be called as sheer stupidity, and an utter shock to the pug, when I turned around at the end of the block to go home, I started jogging. I decided I was going to go all the way home, too. Now, I happen to know it’s only .30 miles from the curb to my driveway, but I would be lying if I said I believed I would manage it. Thud. Thud. Thud. I pounded down the sidewalk, feeling every extra pound and breathing carefully and one hand on my chest to check for heart attack. But I made it, dammit. I marched VERY proudly up that driveway.
I’m not going to be an idiot about it, but if I can run even that far, I can certainly pick up my game quite a bit. It’s my mind, not my body, that’s talking trash.
These are just two little tiny things that I challenged myself to do today. What something are you holding back on today? If I can do it, I know YOU can! Go challenge something and tell me what you did!