Hands up if you’ve dealt with anxiety. You have so much going on and it feels like its all getting to you. You feel this constant heaviness on your chest, you can’t seem to sleep and every waking moment is spent feeling stressed, nervous, overwhelmed and just trying to catch your breath.
Feeling Burned Out?
Our busy lives have led to us being more stressed out than ever. More and more South African are suffering from depression and anxiety due to their hectic schedules, often leaving us feeling burned out and unable to catch a breather. But that much-needed breath that you’re trying to catch may just be the difference in helping you with your anxiety and stress.
Dr Ela Manga, a medical doctor and author of Breathe- Strategising Energy in the Age of Burnout, says that breathwork is the conscious application of breath awareness and breathing techniques to support self-awareness, self-regulation, healing and personal transformation. It can be used to improve your health, optimise your sports performance, boost productivity and confidence, and access an inner sense of peace and calm.
READ MORE: Is There A Difference Between Panic Attacks And Anxiety Attacks?
When we breathe, we’re are feeding oxygen into our bodies but this oxygen can also help with our emotional and mental wellbeing. Dr Manga says: “When used in specific ways, breathing allows us to release and resolve emotions, belief systems, stresses and memories. These are often inaccessible through the more conventional talking therapies. Breathing is the bridge between our conscious and subconscious experiences. Conscious breathing is one of the safest and most direct ways to explore our bodies, minds, emotions and spirituality, allowing access to our natural state of energy and inner peace.”
The beauty of breathwork is that once you have learnt the techniques, you don’t need a special time or place to put them into practice. Breathwork provides simple, effective and accessible ‘recovery loops’, which you can use throughout your day. Dr Manga teaches a variety of breathing techniques that can be specifically applied to everyday situations like a difficult confrontation, meetings, and mid-afternoon energy slumps. In this way, breathwork is used as a practical energy management tool that supports physical, mental and emotional energy, and prevents burnout.
READ MORE: WTF Is Oxygen Therapy And Can It Treat Anxiety?
Take A Breather
Try out this super simple breathing technique to help minimise stress and anxiety, helping you achieve a sense of calm. The 3, 6, 5 breathing method consciously brings the breathing rate down. There are variations of this technique but you can choose the one that works best for you.
Dr Manga advises that to start, slowly breathe in for five seconds, then exhale for five seconds. Do this three times a day, six breaths a minute, for five minutes at a time. This method of breathing brings down cortisol levels, boosts the immune system, makes you calmer and stabilises your heart. “This technique can be used anyway at any time for any situation – driving, sitting in a meeting, before bed. It creates balance, focus and relaxation,” says Dr Manga.
If you need a little more guided meditation, there are plenty of apps that can help. Check out Calm (available on Android and iPhone) or give Insight Timer a go.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credit: iStock