Tension is something that can sneak up on you gradually or it can happen in a moment. However your tension shows up for you, you can be sure that if you are experiencing tension in your emotional life, you will also experience tension in your physical body. When you are tense, you may notice a number of different symptoms including and not limited to a tightening of your muscles weakening of your limbs, headaches, dizziness, crankiness, depression, an ache or knot in your stomach, or random aches and pains. A common symptom that accompanies tension or stress is that your breathing becomes shallow. You may actually notice that you “forget to breathe”. When you interrupt your natural breathing pattern, you get less oxygen to your brain and flowing through your bloodstream. This is perhaps the biggest contributing factor adding to your stress, because it limits your clear thinking and the fluid movement of your body.
Any time you are in a stressful or tense situation, remind yourself to breathe. Literally, say to yourself, “Breathe”.
As few as three deep belly breaths and exhalations will reduce the tension in your physical body, restore blood flow to your brain, organs and limbs, and serve to relax you back into a calm and aware state of being. Breathing is necessary to life and it is necessary to clear thought.
Consciously breathing through the discomfort will strengthen you, ease you and get you back in the flow of life.
Now, that’s Powerful!
This is so very true! The women in my family have all suffered from migraines from time to time. (Talk about stressing yourself with a lack of oxygen!) One of my sisters went to a chiropractor to find a way to help relieve some of the pain. The chiropractor told her that her breathing was “all wrong”. I’ll never forget her face as she told me this story and she said “How can my breathing be all wrong? I am still alive aren’t I?”.
Many times when things are very hectic and the world seems to be buzzing by, I stop and take just 3 slow deep breaths and I begin to feel centered again. However, I can remember when I first started to do these centering breathes that it would actually hurt to breathe deeply because all my muscles were so tense.
Thank you for this reminder.
I instruct Qi Gong and Laughter Yoga. Both stress the importance of breath. Dynamically breathing really oxyigenates the body. Laughter Yoga combines Pranayama Yoga with simple laughter to achieve results. I consciously remember to smile when I do deep breathing exercises. Smiling actually engages facial muscles that stimulate the autonomic nervous system and generates those “feel good” endorphins associated with pure joy. Even if you don’t have a reason to smile—by doing so we activate the chemical response as the body does not know the difference between feigned and genuine happiness. so “fake it till you make it” when it comes to your deep breathing. Thanks so much for this article Sue.
Stacey and Denise,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts… Ahhhh (I just took a nice deep breath!) Whenever I talk about breathing with women at our meetings, I can see a visible lightening of their physical bodies as they breathe, release and relax. It is always worth talking about and bringing awareness to. Denise, your point about smiling is so valuable too. When I meditate, I smile. I find this brings more inspiration and insight to me.
Blessings to you both! Namaste`