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Reduce Your Stress and Sleep Better With Deep Breathing

0.1 Hz breathing, anxiety, insomnia, depressions, HRV
0.1 Hz breathing, anxiety, insomnia, depressions, HRV
Reduce Your Stress and Sleep Better With Deep Breathing

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the simple technique to immediately lower stress and help you to sleep better.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, or pining over your ex? How would you like to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.

Do You Seek Other Peoples Approval?
Who decides how you feel about yourself? Is it you or someone else or, everyone else? If you seek external validation, then you lose your power. Beware of saying to other people, “You will decide how I feel about myself today.” Watch the video 

Now, let’s talk about the simple technique to immediately lower stress and help you to sleep better.

How many times per minute do you breathe? Without being consciously aware, you are probably breathing 12 -18 times per minute, and that is very unhealthy, triggering more stress and anxiety, disrupting sleep, and damaging your body.

Covid-19 has exacerbated the stress that most of us were already experiencing with many clients reporting to me sadness, anxiety, fear, anger, depression, rumination, and confusion. In turn, the physical manifestation of stress includes increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure & cortisol levels, as well as insomnia and a myriad of body pains, stomach and digestive issues.

The negative emotions trigger the “activating” sympathetic nervous system – the fight-or-flight response which causes and elevates the stress.

The opposite to stress – (“activating” sympathetic nervous system) is the “deactivating” parasympathetic nervous system: rest and digest.

The vagus nerve controls the “rest and digest” process as it sends signals between the brain and most of the internal organs including the heart, lungs, eyes, glands, and intestines.

Under or over stimulation of this nerve results in an imbalance of the body. However, when the vagus nerve is toned, it slows the heart, decreases blood pressure and breathing rates, reduces cortisol, and increases DHEA and digestion.

All of this occurs at a subconscious level.

You are probably not even consciously aware of your breath. Rapid, shallow and unfocused breathing leads to elevated stress (fight-or-flight) and thus, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and a host of other problems.

The key to toning your vagus nerve (i.e. lowering stress levels and engaging the “rest and digest” process) is to control your breathing.

In fact, the key to triggering the rest and digest response, to lowering blood pressure and to toning the vagus nerve is to breathe slowly, deeply and 6 times per minute; that is 5 seconds inhale and 5 seconds exhale. The military uses breathing techniques during combat situations to recover composure and reduce stress, and research reveals that deep breathing helps with insomnia.

Breathing to relax and enhance wellbeing
Unlike certain practices such as mindfulness and meditation which often teach you to watch your breath, breathwork designed to lower stress and create the relaxation response requires you to deliberately change, control and direct your breath and the way you breathe.

Begin to notice the way you are breathing right now and throughout the day. Are you breathing quickly, shallowly? Is your breath slow, gentle and deep or is it tense, rapid and high in the chest? Fear, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness and other such emotions change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change the emotions.

How long is each breath you take? Time it. Set a timer for 1 minute and count your breaths. The objective is to inhale for 5 seconds, and to exhale for 5 seconds.

Breathe deeply, slowly and gently into your belly, and then up into your lungs. Notice your belly expanding, and notice the feeling in your chest. Now, exhale, again deeply, slowly and gently. Notice your belly shrinking and caving as if it can touch your spine. The expansion in and the contraction out indicate how deeply you are breathing. Watch a young child and the way their belly expands and contracts as they are breathing!

Frequency and habit
Practice setting aside 20 minutes each day to practice deliberate, slow, deep, gentle breathing – 5 seconds in, and 5 seconds out. You can also use this breathing technique before going to bed to calm your nervous system and help you to fall asleep and sleep deeply. Also, whenever you are stressed or anxious, breathe this way until you notice your body and mind calming down.

Remember, your breath affects your physical and emotional state. You can use your breath to relax you, to energize you or to even create states of joy and ecstasy.

Left hand on heart, right hand on belly

If you would like help to overcome stress, to be set free from the past, to overcome pain or trauma, or to improve your relationships, book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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