Life is demanding and it’s easy to get swept up by speed. To curb feelings of being wired, tired, depleted or depressed, we need to start with simple awareness.
First, notice your “tells”: those aches and pains in your neck, shoulders or any other place you habitually hold tension and tightness. Get curious about your breath. Right now, is it shallow, constricted or fast? With this info you can make new choices. You can only change what you’re aware of. Acknowledge and name your sensations and be descriptive, e.g. “I feel flat, depleted, tired, wired, heavy, slumped down, caved in”.
Now experiment with skillful breathing, it’s the fastest and easiest way to change your nervous system naturally; from sympathetic to parasympathetic. You want to go from a stress state to rest and restore. Many of us are in a chronic stress state, wearing down our energy and immune system so our gusto is gone. We need deep rest, so inserting breath breaks is one way to regulate our chemistry and harmonize our bodies and brains. The foods you eat, the thoughts you think and the ways you move determine how you feel, and the simplest way to shift is moving your lungs and ribs with good breath.
Use for 3 minutes, 1x or more per day
- Take a long, slow, relaxed deep inhale breath through your nose; like you’re smelling a rose. Exhale softly out of your mouth; like you’re blowing a feather.
- Count to four as you breathe in through your nose, then exhale through your mouth for a count of five.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly to feel the alternating rise and fall; it’s soothing.
- Repeat this pattern as you fall into a gentle and soft flow. Sit, stand or lay down for comfort.
Need more movement? Adjust your arms out like wings, in a flying bird movement. Lift your arms as you inhale, lower as you exhale. Imagine a hawk lifting off and flying as you put a little bend in your knees as you micro bend up and down. It may take a few flaps to settle down. This works well if you’re feeling wound up: Same breath count, in for four through the nose, and out of the mouth for five.
This strategy is easy to underestimate. Training yourself to settle in and trust your ability to pump up is just the control and regulation you’ve craved. Little pockets of time for active pausing is an effective way to shift things. It will become your “go to” habit.
Allergic to pausing? Revisit any fears about slowing, softening or ease. Will you get left behind or lose out? It’s just the opposite. Pausing lets you catch up with yourself and prevents crashing. Counter-intuitively, life can feel more spacious with greater perspective and clarity too. Try this once a day for three minutes (the length of a tune). You can do anything for three minutes! Grab a friend, make a commitment, the ripple effects can change all your relationships for good.
Alyse Hart is available for in-person, individual sessions or Zoom groups. Introductory offer: Two sessions for price of one.
Former publishing executive VP, entrepreneur, author, speaker, artist, dancer, certified Qi Gong facilitator and wise sage, Alyse Hart understands the demands of work and life well. She uses practical ancient techniques and actionable strategies for grounding and well-being. Her company, freebirdmojo.com, focuses on self-mastery, peak performance, and healthy ways to increase energy, presence and mojo. She currently teaches rhythmic meditation for MPTF Channel 22.