Written by Sarah Davies | Healthy Minds
Stress, it’s something we all feel from time to time – whether it be a work deadline, never ending to-do list, negative thoughts or a disagreement you’re having with a friend.
No matter what the cause, if your body’s stress response has been triggered, then it is helpful to know a couple of techniques that you can use to calm yourself down.
Sarah Davies, Psychologist from Sarah Davies Psychology, says that breathing sets off a cascade of physical changes in your body which promote either stress or relaxation.
“Whether you like it or not, the rate and depth which you breathe at is a huge determinant of your mental state,” Sarah says. “Deep breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing, is the process of completely filling your lungs with air and bringing that breath deeply into your diaphragm, which sits near your stomach area. This activates our parasympathetic nervous symptom, which allows our bodies to ‘rest and digest’, as opposed to the sympathetic nervous system response which is activated during our ‘fight or flight’ state. Undertaking deep breathing exercises can help shift your body from a stress response, to a relaxation response.”
Next time you are feeling stressed, give these exercises a go:
Sarah says that establishing a daily routine of deep belly breathing can help to bring improvement in your health, vitality and confidence.
“Using deep breathing, not only when you need to calm yourself, but also in your everyday activities, can bring positive changes to your physical wellbeing as well as your emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing,” Sarah says. “By bringing your attention back to your breathe and consciously practicing breath-control exercises, you have the power to deliberately change your breathing style and help yourself to feel calmer in your everyday life.”
Looking after your emotional and mental state is important to your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you are looking for information about mental health for yourself or a loved one, we’re here to help.