With more and more people across the world being put on lockdown and having to isolate themselves it’s becoming increasingly important to manage our own mental health in these challenging times.
Over the last few days I’ve spoken about limiting news and social media so as not to bombard your senses with doom and gloom (stay informed – not overwhelmed). Why? Well simply because your body’s response is to go into flight or fight mode and we become increasingly anxious about the present situation and this can impact our immune system, mood and sleep!
So what can we do about it?
Well just breathe!
“What do you mean breathe? I do that everyday?” I hear you cry!
Ok well it’s a specific type of breathing. Let me explain.
If someone is feeling panicked or nervous you will notice them taking rapid short breaths. This is your fight or flight response kicking in or your sympathetic nervous system. Your body is ramping up and is in survival mode.
When you imagine someone being calm and peaceful, for instance someone meditating, you see them taking long slow deep breaths.
These long slow deep breaths allow your parasympathetic nervous system to kick in and can is often referred to as the state of repair, rest and digest!
So how do you train your parasympathetic nervous system?
Well there are a million and one different ways and on our online site we will be showing you a variety of these but today I want to give you a very simple one that is used in a number of different disciplines.
The 7-11 breath is really as simple as it sounds, you breath in through your nose for the count of 7 then breath out for the count of 11. Having a longer out-breath than in-breath is really the key here so if you are struggling to manage the full 7-11 then try 5 in and 8 out or even 3 in and 5 out. Whatever works for you but try and build it up over a couple of sessions to the full 7-11.
Make sure you are taking diaphragmatic breaths or deep belly breaths. Don’t force anything, relaxed and natural is the emphasis you are looking for.
Start with doing 5-10 minutes to begin with if you are new to breath work and see how much calmer you feel afterwards. It’s always interesting to notice just how much your heart rate drops after doing this for 10 mins.
So give yourself a mental break, control your mind and body with this simple technique that can be used anytime and anywhere.
Stay safe everyone and remember to breathe!