What is the one thing that you already know and do that can change your brain and your stress response? If you guessed the breath, then you are right. Rose Kress, LifeForce Yoga Director, shows you how to hack your stress response so that you can lead a calmer more stress free life.
You know how when you are stressed out and someone tells you too take a deep breath? Well, they’re not wrong. In fact, taking a deep breath is the best thing you can do in that situation. But it’s not the inhale that is important, it’s the exhale that matters. The longer the exhale, the better.
There are receptors in your lungs that get activated when you exhale. The longer your exhale the more receptors become activated. These receptors in the lungs communicate a sense of calm/security to the brain. If you were in danger, you would not be breathing longs slow exhales. The more you practice this in a moment of stress or anxiety, the more your nervous system will shift to calm itself. Add some sound to that long exhale and it works even better.
I realize that you might not be in a place where you can exhale with sound. You might also be in a place where that stress is serving you, like getting you out of the way of danger. The stress response is an important one that saves your life on a regular basis. When you get stuck in that stress response, then it changes your brain and may even make you sick. This hack is one to use AFTER the stress response has been activated and you no longer need it. For example, you almost rear ended the person in front of you, your hands are shaking, your heart is racing, and you have that sinking feeling in your stomach. Instead of driving around like that for minutes, you now have a tool that you can use to calm yourself down faster and more successfully. You are in your car, so why not start exhaling with sound? Have a passenger? Well, they need it too.
The more you practice this technique of long slow exhales, the more you will remember it when you most need it. There is no time like the present, so get exhaling!
- Inhale through the nose
- Exhale through the nose
- When you think you have exhaled enough, exhale a little more by squeezing the belly to the spine