self-care

The “Nose Breathe”: a Quick Calming practice

Stay at home. Wash your hands. Drink boiled garlic water.

Wait. Boiled garlic water?

With all the information, misinformation, conspiracy theories, helpful guidelines, and everything else whizzing through our 4G connections, it makes sense that we’re all overwhelmed. Plus, with all the upheaval to our daily routines and expectations, it makes just as much sense that we’re all kind of in a state of shock. Not to mention all the other shocking details that we’re getting about this pandemic right now, either.

That being given, let me share one – yes, ONE – teeny tiny tip that you can put into action right now, no matter how demotivated you might be feeling about all the other things that are piling up on the to-do or can’t-do list.

I’ll even break down this super small step into smaller steps, to make it easier. Now, whenever you feel the gasp of the looming void that thing you were thinking about is starting to grow into something bigger, simply do the following:

  1. Close your mouth.
  2. Look up at the ceiling & inhale through your nose.
  3. Look down at the floor & exhale through your nose.

Told ya! It seems so simple it almost can’t be real, right? Well there’s a method to the madness. For one, during times of anxiety, stress, or distress, even the simplest of meditative techniques can feel as tough as rolling a boulder up a mountain. So, take it easy on yourself, won’t you? Just because it’s short and sweet doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Actually, the idea is it should be so easy that even during those toughest moments, you’ll be able to remember, ‘Oh, yeah! I know what to do right now!’ with ease and then immediately perform it without problem.

Two, you may have heard of the fight-or-flight response by this point. When a stressor is presented and your nervous system registers it, cortisol is shot into your bloodstream. These days we’re typically not facing down lions or bears as an enemy, but we aren’t exactly wandering through forests for the rest of the day looking for herbs to eat either. Even thoughts can trigger your stress response.

I’m bringing that up because stress makes you mouth-breathe. And mouth-breathing makes you more stressed (like, you know, hyperventilation?) Breathing through your nose during times of stress is more likely to kick your parasympathetic nervous system into gear to help you calm down.

The thing is, you are going to make yourself sick with chronic stress (if you don’t have it already) the more stress responses you have per day. It’s reasonable to want to aim to reduce that. Begin by training yourself with this little, baby-step response to every stressful trigger, and it may be the most momentous action you’ve ever taken.

You can find out more about this practice on these websites:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-to-your-body-during-the-fight-or-flight-response/

https://www.healthline.com/health/mouth-breathing

Author

Sarah

Sarah is a girl in the suburbs of Chicago, USA, who does things sometimes. The thing she is proudest of is her thesis which you can read here. She likes quiet, sunlight and water.

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