There is so much on your plate, it’s not even funny. So how could three minutes of your time be enough to de-stress? Most likely, it would just take time away from doing something more urgent.
Stepping back from urgent work demands helps you re-focus and re-frame so you can look at the big picture. Is what you were doing just now, using your time efficiently? Whenever I ask clients to step back for a few minutes, they find themselves being able to focus more efficiently on what truly counts – instead of losing themselves in a task. They see more clearly where they should assign time and energy.
Investing three minutes to de-stress can save you hours of work – being busy, but not accomplishing what counts. Invest in helping your overworked brain calm down and your body access new energy.
Learn relaxation breathing and practice it, for three minutes, twice a day. All you need is a watch, and to slow down your breath to a pace of six breaths per minute (that’s one breath every 10 seconds), for three minutes at a time. That’s all.
How does relaxation breathing work? We are animals, with mind and body connected. Being tense physically makes you tense mentally – and vice-versa. When you are tense, you breathe faster and shallow – as if there was an imminent danger and you had to escape. Breathing more slowly tells your mind and your body to relax and to access a kinder, renewable energy – not “stress energy”. As you breathe more slowly and more deeply, you feel calmer, more relaxed. It won’t take away your workload, but you’ll feel clearer, more focused and energized.
What relaxation breathing does for you:
- Provides extra oxygen to your brain
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- Makes you feel calm yet energized
- Provides a mini-meditation moment
- Allows your brain to refocus and to think outside the box
It’s not how long it takes that makes it work, it’s how effective it is. Another example? Brushing your teeth. It might take you a short two minutes a day, but not doing it will cost you your teeth (and your friends). Doing it once a month? Not enough. Same with relaxation breathing – doing it once a month won’t work. It only works if you actually DO it. And of course, it works best with practice…
Do it now: sit tall, feet on the floor. Lengthen your spine and relax your shoulders back & down – this will open your ribcage so you can breathe more freely. Use a watch for this, to help you slow down your breath. Inhale slowly as you count 5 seconds; then exhale for 5 seconds. Continue focusing on your breath, 10 seconds each breath, for for 3 minutes.