Stepping Out of Survival Mode - How Mindful Breathing Is the Best Tool for Stress Management
What do you do when you’re in the midst of a crisis? How do you manage your stress?
Most people don’t manage their stress.
They just try to survive.
But, NOT managing takes a toll.
My extended family has been navigating a particularly difficult time. It reminds me how important it is not to get swept away by stress when possible.
Whether it’s a genuine crisis or a tough day. Managing stress is important for long term health and happiness.
You might be thinking uh-huh yep Jen I’ve heard that before, but HOW???!!
Most of the time we’re fully engulfed in the stress reaction and it’s not until days or weeks later that we look back at how we could’ve handled that better.
The best and most simple tool for stress management is your breath.
I know, it sounds too good to be true.
But, turning your attention toward your breath takes the attention away from the stressor.
When you put your focus on the physicality of the breath coming in and out it gives your brain a break from where it’s been.
It slows your heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
Will your brain hop right back over to the thing that is screaming for your attention?
And then you get to turn your attention back over to your breath…as many times as it takes to help you find some relief.
It doesn’t have to be the breath, just shift your attention to something else and give it your full attention. The focus could be on whatever sounds are in the room, a smell in the air, or looking at the leaves outside your window. The point is to give your brain some relief rather than ruminating on the stressful thoughts churning in your mind.
When my brain is being particularly stubborn and keeps turning back over to the situation I’ve found that repeating a phrase helps. I like to say to myself “just the next step” over and over.
And what I mean by that is I literally just have to put one foot in front of the other. That’s all I can manage or do in that moment, taking the next step. I will also sometimes use “just the next breath” in the same way.
Hopefully you’re not in a crisis right now. But, this can be helpful with our day to day pressures.
Let me know if you give it a try. I’d love to hear if it was helpful or not.
Need more help?
I got you.