I feel like I have discovered the holy grail of stress resilience! It is free, available to everyone and doesn’t require breaking a sweat or twisting into uncomfortable, yet beneficial postures. It can be used anywhere and at any time.
It actually is so basic, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself!
But, I didn’t.
And Dr. Richard Brown and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg actually went further and have written a whole book about it, The Healing Power of the Breath. They’re not the first and they won’t be the last to try to educate the masses on the healing power we have at our disposal, our breath.
The little nugget of wisdom I’m practicing and want to pass on is this: 10 minutes each day of coherent breathing. I call it little, because 20 minutes would be Uhmazing, but 10 minutes is still a great start!
Now the coherent breathing practice has just a few parameters to it. Sit comfortably or lay comfortably keeping a tall spine. Breathe in and out through your nose, 5 times per minute. That comes out to breathing in for six seconds and breathing out for six seconds. Count. Put your attention on your breath and this rhythm of sixes. If you need to breathe more often, say 6 or 7 times a minute when you are beginning that is ok. Start there and work your way down to 5.
Time flies by as your parasympathetic nervous system is engaged in a pure, rejuvenating, resilience building, oxygenated love fest!
Your parasympathetic nervous system is the one that helps reset after our sympathetic nervous system is activated to handle the daily rigors of life, stress and anxiety. If we don’t actively practice resetting, soothing and strengthening our parasympathetic nervous system, we run the risk of burning ourselves out with our overactive sympathetic nervous system.
Sounds almost too simple to work or be worth it, doesn't it? Usually that's the kiss of death to a new habit. When it sounds too easy we often dismiss it at first glance. Or we forget to schedule it into our daily routine, thinking we'll just remember to do it.
Well, since we totally are too smart for our own britches, let's not let this holy grail go the way of all our past holy grails. Join me in making this one stick/work.
Take a moment now to type it into your calendar. It takes only 10 minutes to start practicing coherent breathing. I'd love to hear about your experience with it!