Fear and stress cause the digestive and immune systems to become depressed. As a consequence, you become highly vulnerable to virus and disease.
Under stress, the body goes into fight-or-flight response which is our design to help us survive an immediate threat. The body goes into high alert, and the digestive and immune systems are depressed as the energy is diverted elsewhere to help us escape danger.
The body cannot sustain fight-or-flight long without breaking down. And yet…stress is an all day, every day state for many.
Now more than any time in recent history for most of us–with all of the external circumstances beyond our control related to social distances, the economy, our health, the health of loved ones, kids at home–the list of stressors is greater than typical to be sure. Fear and stress is a daily reality for all us–even those who are not normally stressed out.
One of the most powerful things you can do to alleviate stress in your body is breath-work. The body eliminates 70% of toxins through the process of exhalation.
Here is an easy exercise you can do when you are feeling especially stressed to help move stress toxins out of your body and reset yourself into a calm, relaxed state. You may want to do this several times a day during all of this uncertainty. You can be sure it will improve your body’s ability to cope–which means your mind’s ability to cope will improve as well.
1. Find a spot away from noise (even if that is a closet). Close your eyes.
2. Take at least 6 seconds to breath in deeply through your nose, using your diaphragm to pull the air deep into your belly (you should be able to feel your belly protrude with your hand.
3. Hold your breath at the top for at least 4 seconds.
4. Take at least 6 seconds to completely exhale the breath.
5. Hold at the bottom (no breath) for at least 4 seconds.
6. Repeat this 10-20 times.
When you are finished, your body will be in a different state. You will have released stress toxins from your body through the process of exhalation and oxygenated your blood with fresh air. You have activated your parasympathetic nervous system and your brain is no longer sending stress hormones into your bloodstream.
Repeat this process throughout your day as needed. Share below if you have tried this and what you experienced!