We live in a culture where we ask one another "How are you?" and we all respond the same way, "busy!" Busyness has become a status symbol and it's highly addicting.
But as we all know, perpetual busyness also comes with anxiety and a tightness in our chest that just won't let up.
Here's one thing we're pretty sure no one is too busy for - breathing! Yes, breathing is a necessity and we all do it without much thought but did you know your breathing can directly contribute to panic and anxiety?
Try this: put one hand on your upper abdomen near your waist and the other in the middle of your chest. Take a breath and notice which hand raises the most. If you're breathing properly (which is called abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing), your abdomen should expand. During stressful times, you're more likely to breathe shallow, rapid breaths from your chest.
Here's a breathing exercise you can practice anytime and anywhere (we love doing it with our chest elevated on a bolster) to help even out the breath and calm the mind.
1.) Inhale slowly count to four. Pause for a moment at the top of the inhalation with your lungs full of air.
2) Release and count to four as you exhale. Pause for a moment at the bottom of the exhale to empty out all of the breath.
3) Begin the process again. Count to four on an inhale, pause, count to four on the exhale, pause.
4) Continue breathing with equal inhales and exhales for 1-2 minutes.
If you give this a try, share with us how you felt before and after in the comments.