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Have you stopped breathing?

With all the stress and panic and chaos that has been going on in the global community over the last few weeks (and in some cases months), have you noticed that you've stopped breathing?

I did.

It seems that everywhere I turn there is another news story, another article, another graph, another radio talk show, another Facebook post, another YouTube video, and on and on and on...

I'm writing to tell you that it's ok to feel the stress and the anxiety and the overwhelm of it all. It's a natural human reaction to feel these things, and there's a good chance that as a result, your body has tensed up and you too have found that you can't breathe properly. So, what I am encouraging you to do is to breathe. Yes, BREATHE. Take a big, deep breath in. Hold it for a few seconds. Then let it out with a big sigh. Repeat this three times...

How do you feel now?

Hopefully a little better.

The breath is a crucial factor to maintaining your health. Developing a deeper awareness of how you are breathing is so important. That's why I'm asking that you check in with yourself on a regular basis everyday over the coming weeks and months and remind yourself to breathe.

To help you out, I'm sharing some strategies you can use to help prompt you to breathe deeply more often:

  1. Put a 'Remember to breathe' alert on your phone, or in your calendar, to go off at certain times of the day as a reminder to stop and take some deep breaths.

  2. Use a doorway as a reminder - every time you walk through a doorway take a deep breath in an out. This could be at home, in the office, in the car.

  3. Traffic lights and stop signs - if you are out driving, whenever you have to stop at the traffic lights or a stop sign, use that as a prompt to take at least one deep breath.

  4. Meal times - before you start eating a meal, take three deep breaths. Try to continue to breathe deeply as you chew your food. Doing this will also improve your digestion!

  5. Going to bed - when you lie down to go to sleep, take 10 deep breaths. Count each breath you take, but count in a downward direction (e.g. the first breath is number 10, the second breath is number 9, and so on). You may find you don't even make it to number 1 because you have fallen asleep.

  6. Do some physical exercise - walking (especially up a hill), jogging, yoga, swimming, cycling - any exercise where you are required to focus on your breath. This will stimulate your body and kick the lungs into action and you will instantly become more aware of your breathing.

I suggest you have a play with these strategies to see which ones suit you best and incorporate them where you can into your daily routine. By becoming more aware of your breath, you will be able to stay calm amidst the panic and be a role model to those around you.

Please feel free to share this with your family, friends or colleagues if you feel they will benefit from this information.

May you continue to be well.

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