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How to Increase Employee Wellness

Can breathing help you resolve stress?

Stress resolution can be achieved with the right tools, tools that get to the real underlying issues that are the root cause of your stress. Unless and until you deal with these issues everything else you do is merely changing the band aid!

The unfortunate thing is that people do not take stress seriously because the notion of how to manage stress is so entrenched in the workplace, that sometimes the tips and recommendations appear to be trite.

Stress resolution is about educating and informing so that something can be done about it to permanently resolve the debilitating effects once and for all!

One of the first mechanisms to go into upheaval during a stressful time is your breathing. Dr Alex Loyd, The Healing Codes recently said: “Chest breathing is stress breathing.” This means that the way you breathe changes from that of being normal, relaxing and health-giving, to one of stress and irregular patterns. Your breath becomes short and rapid. As well, your heart beat/rate increases or becomes irregular. When this happens you are not able to get the necessary oxygen and blood flow around the body to flush out the toxins and restore health and balance.

“Incorrect breathing” is shallow breathing in your upper chest area using the upper lungs only or breathing rapidly. It means that you are taking in too much carbon dioxide and hence you actually get less oxygen into your blood stream. You may find yourself gasping for air if this occurs.

Stress is the cause of “incorrect breathing” because when you feel threatened in any way, whether from a “real/actual” or a “perceived” threat or event, up to 1400 different chemical and electromagnetic events are triggered throughout the body. One of these effects includes a pulling down on your diaphragm by the psoas muscle. When the diaphragm is pulled down it opens up the chest area more and the person is generally unable, or finds it difficult to engage in normal, health-giving belly breathing.

You see, when you are in a stressful state and are breathing rapidly, the body goes into survival mode. The body presumes you are in a state of being attacked or suffocated, which can lead to anxiety attacks or panic attacks. Witness an asthmatic. Because asthmatics generally breath rapidly as their “normal” way of breathing, by so doing they are trying to get more oxygen into their bodies. In actual fact, the opposite is happening. They tend to gulp air in, and this leads to an excess of carbon dioxide in the system which makes it difficult for proper breathing function. Excess carbon dioxide and reduced oxygen leaves a person gasping for air.

Normal, non-stress breathing is also essential on a cellular level. Disease cannot thrive in an oxygenated place, so the more oxygen you give your cells, the healthier you will become.

Learning to breathe correctly gives you a head start on overcoming stress!   You see, because breathing is an automatic function run by the subconscious part of the brain, and the stress response mechanism is also an automatic function, the key to stress resolution is to gain control over this aspect of the subconscious. You can do this by gaining control over how you breathe.

Correct breathing leads to:

  • Getting more oxygen into your body/mind
  • Helping you calm your mind
  • Helps remove toxins more effectively, and
  • Helps your heart rate normalise resulting in a more efficient blood flow throughout the body – this helps keep your organs, tissues, muscles and bones rejuvenated

So, what is correct breathing?

“Correct breathing” is deep breathing or belly breathing using the lower abdomen muscles. As you breathe in, you keep your shoulders relaxed and down and the belly rises. As you breathe out the belly naturally deflates and moves back towards your spine. Babies do this naturally. However, as we grow older and we experience more events that trigger our survival mechanism, this then activates our stress response mechanism, and this leads to incorrect breathing, rapid or a gasping like motion. When we experience such events regularly, they become habits and we get into the habit or pattern of incorrect breathing. Having this pattern ingrained into our psyche over a long period of time leads to adopting incorrect breathing as “the normal” way to breathe. This then holds us in a state of continual stress.

So, you can see how, if you continue to be affected by stressful events on a daily basis, this then interferes with our breathing patterns and creates a habit of incorrect breathing.

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