In the previous article I already told you that you sometimes think that you are ‘resting’ and ‘recuperating’ but that in reality you are not… you are still in your ‘red’ zone…
How do you go to your ‘green’ zone? By artificially activating your parasympathetic or… in order words: by doing relaxation exercises.
There are many activities that can bring you to your ‘green zone’: relaxing massages, a warm bath, a day at the spa, certain forms of yoga, etc…
But today I want to focus on 3 techniques that you can use anywhere and anytime, even when you only have 5 minutes…
Abdominal breathing means breathing deeply from your abdomen or from the bottom of your lungs. It is exactly the opposite of the shallow, high-chest breathing you use when anxious or tense. To see if you are breathing from your abdomen, place your hand on your abdomen and watch it rise each time you inhale. Abdominal breathing will help you relax any time you are feeling anxious. There are different forms. The easiest is the 4-4-4-4. (I already talked about it in ‘Defeat your stress in 10 days’)
Do the full set (4-4-4-4) 3 times.
Following these steps can actually make you start yawning: proof that your parasympathetic nervous system has been stimulated.
Stopping and landing comes from Mindfulness. It is exactly what it says: you ‘stop’ whatever you are doing and ‘land’ in the here and now. How do you do that?
You can find out more about Mindfulness here.
Heart coherence is a breathing method that is claimed to facilitate circulation and autonomic nervous system balance. It involves breathing at the nominal rate of x (find out exact number in link) breaths per minute with equal inhalation and exhalation. It also increases heart rate variability and brings it into coherence, but here we are more interested in the calming effect: it activates your parasympathetic.
You can use an app that ‘accompanies’ you while breathing. But I want to teach you a technique that you can also use when you don’t have your mobile phone nearby… (hard to imagine for some, but still…). When you are learning the technique, all you need is a piece of paper, a pen and a timer.
Three times a day, at a moment of your choice
(Instructions for week 2 and 3 can be found here)
These are the 3 techniques. Which one will you try out? Maybe you know another one? I’d love to find out in the comments below!