October 25, 2011 – Breathe. Relax. Two key words to live your life by. The two go hand in hand. In order to truly relax, you need to breathe naturally and calmly. And to breathe naturally and calmly you need to relax. So which comes first? In reality there is no first. They happen simultaneously. With practice that is. In Taoist thought this is known as regulating without regulating. Regulate your breathing – control your breathing to be even and relaxed – without thought or active control. How is this accomplished? Well, at first, as with everything else in life, with effort. Calmly inhale for a count of five, hold your breath for a count of five, slowly exhale for a count of five and relax for another count of five. If five is too long a count, build up slowly and begin with a lower number. Over time you will find that your breathing becomes more even, more relaxed, and effortless.
So how is this relevant to our topics?
Consider your elevated stress levels at work as your project deadline approaches.
Consider your ever increasing stress levels as your teenage child alternates between yelling and ignoring you, with the occasional and strategically timed “I love you,” the only constant being the sullen look on her face.
Consider your elevated stress levels as you negotiate with your soon to be ex-spouse over the terms of the proposed parenting schedule.
Can you feel your pulse quickening and your breathing more labored? Can you see this leading to less than optimal responses to the given situation? These are the harmful effects of cortisol released in your system due to prolonged stress. Not only is this harmful to your health, but it also holds you back and impedes peak performance and productivity whether at work with your colleagues and boss, at home with your family or negotiating your divorce settlement with your spouse.
So the next time you feel stressed and operating at less than optimal levels, just breathe and relax. Or is that relax and breathe?
Consider the possibilities.
Adam J. Krim www.driveconsulting.net