Take an Offbeat Breather

In my last post, I gave you some tips on how to trigger those happy feelings that keep you going. But if your work day is just too often interrupted with negative triggers and unavoidable frantic or spazzy feelings, it may be time to take a beat, get out of your skin and off your beaten path, and take a breather break.Feeling stressed out?

I used to get panic attacks on a regular basis. Years ago when I was still working in a corporate office, chugging away at that old familiar 9-5 job, I developed anxiety disorder and found myself taking frequent trips to the bathroom to panic, hyperventilate, and often throw up.

Now you may not have quite the same intensity of symptoms, but I know we all face a little frantic overwhelm from time to time. So if you’ve ever felt this on some level, and wondered what to do, let me try to share some of my favorite practices and advice to help get you back on the Productive bandwagon with minimal energy and time wasted.

You’ve probably tried deep, slow breathing to calm yourself down. But there’s actually a more useful technique I’ve found — one that can reduce stress, decrease pain, increase concentration, prevent panic attacks, and even stop headaches.

Take a Moment to BreatheHere’s what you do: Breathe in while you count to 4. Exhale while you count to eight. Repeat for at least a minute. In for 4, out for 8.

Why it works: Breathing at this rhythm increases your “heart rate variability.” That means there are slight differences in the length of time between your heart beats, from one beat to the next. The more variation, the better. High heart rate variability protects against stress, anxiety, inflammation and pain. So think of this exercise as your own personal army that can help protect you from the negative feelings and stresses that threaten to slow you down.

Next time you’re feeling anxious or angry or just plain unmotivated, try this slightly more structured breathing exercise, and see if you can feel the difference in your heart’s rhythm. It just might be the key to helping you get your mind off those negative triggers and anxious feelings, and realigned with your heart’s true rhythm and inspiration.

Happy Heart!Happy Breathing!

Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Please comment below and tell me how this breathing exercise worked for you, or any other calming or centering practices you find useful.

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