Reduce Stress Using The Power of Breath!

When you are stressed and emotional your hormones go crazy. Your cortisol and your cravings go up, especially those of sugar! Cravings of carbs, of flour though raises blood sugar even more than table sugar, even whole-wheat flour. Eradicating these from our diet is therefore crucial.

stress

So we all need from time to time some kind of purification, and renewal process in which we eliminate whatever physical and emotional toxicities we have accumulated, allowing our mind-body to return to a natural state of health and balance.

Now, If you’re experiencing too many challenges in your life, it’s due to few things: your unwillingness or inability to feel your emotions, your unwillingness to commit to a daily practice, and of course as you read earlier a poor diet.

Stress fig

 

A good practice can be sitting and meditating for 20 minutes once or twice a day (start with five minute and work yourself up to twenty in few weeks), exercise for 30 min – could be just yoga, a fast pace walking in nature, weight training, etc, or just breath work.

Emotions are actually energy in motion, and in their normal state they are designed to flow like a deep breath. When we don’t experience our feelings, they create a heaviness inside us that makes our breath shallow, that narrows our field of energy and blocks the flow and keeps us from accessing our highest potential.

The flow of Chi is fundamental to our state of wellbeing, and needs to be in constant motion. Any form of physiological or emotional disharmony is thought to bring blockages or disruptions in energy flow along the meridians. The goal here is to correct these blockages and restore the energy flow.

Particular thought patterns manifest in physical symptoms. It is important to note that the emotional states or attitudes which cause energetic imbalances often go unconscious. This is simply because we repress negative emotions which we find troubling.

Studies show that taking deep breaths activates a special nerve, called the Vagus Nerve, that shifts your metabolism from fat storage to fat burning and quickly moves you out of the stress state. And all you have to do is take a deep breath!

Vagus Nerve is the 10th Cranial Nerve also called the Wandering Nerve. It is a very long nerve running from the hypothalamus area of our brain, and to our intestines. It wraps around our heart and core area (solar plexus center) – areas traditionally considered to be the seat of intuition and compassion. It is the nerve that comes from the brain and controls the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your relaxation response.  And this nervous system uses the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.

vagus_nerve

Acetylcholine is responsible for learning and memory.  It is also calming and relaxing, which is used by vagus nerve to send messages of peace and relaxation throughout your body.  New research has found that acetylcholine is a major brake on inflammation in the body.  In other words, stimulating your vagus nerve sends acetylcholine throughout your body, not only relaxing you but also turning down the fires of inflammation which is related to the negative effects from stress.

When the vagus nerve is activated:

  • parasympathetic nervous system is activated
  • There is a relaxation response (cortisol levels are reduced, which control the health of our immune cells, organs and tissues, and even our stem cells. (A caution on overstimulation of this nerve may produce what is “vagaling”, making one unconscious.)

Common outlets for the flow of the congested energy

  • Arms, legs, feet, toes and the crown of head. Some of the sensations that are felt when the energy is flowing out are:
  • Tingling, usually in the extremities. This indicates the free flow of strong energy.
  • Numbness, again when the energy is very strong. Continue with the awareness of these numb parts, and it will dissipate naturally.
  • Warmth, usually in the extremities. This indicates the normal flow of energy.
  • Coldness –feet & hands (energy is flowing, but it is blocked at some point at the wrists, so it is helpful to feel the part of the body prior to the cold part.
  • Emotions that involve suppression of expression or hurt often create congestion in the throat, jaw, mouth and eyes area.
  • Fear may be felt in the pit of the stomach or in the legs (danger & heights)
  • Anger is felt in the head, forehead, back of the neck (which can also indicate incomplete flow of energy.

The best breathing exercise for stress reduction and for processing emotions is the diafragmal breathing. See “The Process of Self Tranformation” blog.

Try also my Six Breathing Exercise Break. It’s something you can do anywhere, anytime. Simply take six slow deep breaths-in to the count of six, hold to the count of six, out to the count of six. Six times. That’s it. Do this few times every day, or before every meal. Watch what happens! 🙂

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