The more that technology advances, the more that we research, and the more that we discover, the more we are finding that the way we once dealt with stress no longer works as well as it once did. Well, not that it doesn't work, it keeps us back in our early evolutionary brain while the world moves on.
Let's look at breathing - used to reduce anxiety and stress - and controlling thoughts - used in meditation and mindfulness techniques.
In early times when a lot of our current stress management techniques were discovered, life was much simpler. Most of us know that life is much busier today with so many choices; computers and technology was supposed to make life easier and we know that hasn't been the case.
Firstly, I want to acknowledge that meditation and mindfulness, with their associated breathing techniques, do work. However, if you follow my blogs you will know that I like to question convention, based on recent neuroscience and/or research.
So here's my question; does meditation and mindfulness, along with their associated breathing techniques, still work in today's complicated world?
Like everything, it is not as cut and dry as a simple yes or no answer. But, I am going to go out on a limb and say that if you want to remain in the past then stick with the original methods of meditation, mindfulness, and breathing.
If you want to live in a modern world, change the way that you undertake both of these wonderful stress-reducing tools.
Find a practitioner who has modernised meditation and mindfulness based on validated science and/or research. Not many of us have an hour a day to sit and meditate like they did 100 years ago, (although we possibly should), most of us like to have our computer in our pocket, most of us like to have more choices, most of us want to live in the 21st or even the 22nd century.
Most of us simply need to adapt our brains, to find a quick solution so that we can reduce stress by using either meditation and/or mindfulness in a way that allows us to live in a modern world. None of us live in a monastery where a lot of these early stress management techniques were developed.
Back to breathing. Breathing, or more importantly, nasal diaphragmatic breathing does control stress. There are various forms to use in various situations, without the need to spend an hour doing meditation and/or mindfulness.
To control your fight-or-flight response, in other words when you feel yourself getting angry or afraid – take a long, slow, deep breath to fill your lungs. Next, hold your breath for at least 3 seconds counting inside your head as you hold your breath to control your thoughts. Then, slowly breathe completely out to reduce your heart rate, holding your breath again for 3 seconds before breathing in again. Do this just once or twice when angry, too many breaths may cause you to hyperventilate.
Sit up straight in a chair; Breathe in for 5 seconds to fully expand your lungs, hold your breath for 5 seconds to hold your current state, breathe out for 5 seconds which will slow your heart rate even further and hold your breath for 5 seconds before repeating the cycle. Count each of the 5 seconds inside your head, this will control your thoughts. Do this technique for three cycles, once each night, for 30 nights. You may have to start with 3-3-3 then progress to 4-4-4 building up to 5-5-5.
An alternative; Sit up straight in a chair; Set your phone to beep at 6 second intervals, at the first beep breathe in, at the next beep breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Do this exercise for 2 minutes, twice a day. This breathing exercise will take you to an alpha state, a light hypnotic state yet aware of what is around you. It is great for children who find themselves becoming anxious, sit and do the exercise with them.
For more breathing techniques, contact me through my website and I will send them to you; https://www.warninternational.com/hints-tips.