Breathe through it

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

03 January 2013

Breathing through stress

I regularly travel between home and Edinburgh and part of the journey is through Glasgow on the M8. This road is a total nightmare; sometimes there are 6 lanes and traffic merging from both sides so you need to concentrate very, very hard!

Over time I began to notice that I got quite a big hot flush at roughly the same part of the road every journey. So I started to look at what could be causing it, as I don’t normally have any problem whilst driving no matter how long the journey. Watching how I was driving I noticed that going through Glasgow, because I had to concentrate and focus on the traffic, I was gripping the steering wheel and holding my breath, a great stress posture!!

Now when I travel through Glasgow I try to relax my arms and keep saying to myself breathe deeply, breathe deeply, and I find that the flushes no longer occur! So, do not underestimate the power of breathing in helping to reduce stress and hot flushes.

I would suggest getting into the habit of spending a minute or two every hour or so doing a few deep breaths (I have a little sticker in front of me on my desk with the word ‘breathe’ on it just to remind me!); and when you know you are going into a stressful situation have a quiet moment or two for some deep breathing before you start.

Learning a daily breathing exercise routine or doing yoga regularly can be of great benefit.

The book Breathe Better, Feel Better, by Howard Kent, explains simple, easy to follow exercises that don’t take long to do.

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