1. What are the common symptoms of stress?
Some of the typical warning signs that you're currently not coping as well as you could be, are included in the following questions:
Are you feeling down for no apparent reason?
Are you not able to eat or sleep properly (this can mean too much or too little)?
Do you feel you're losing control?
Are you thinking about work or another issue most of the time?
Are you feeling the urge to drink more or take drugs or cry a lot?
Are you losing your temper quickly?
Are you experiencing a lack of focus or concentration?
Are you experiencing a lack of interest in most things?
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you are probably finding life quite challenging at the moment and should seriously think about getting help.
2. What are the most effective things we can do straight away to reduce stress ourselves?
What if it was as simple as breathing? Many online articles or podcasts are now advocating breathing techniques as a way to lessen anxiety and control stress levels.
I have noticed though that often articles or podcasts fail to explain how such breathing can lower stress levels.
The answer is very simple, and once grasped, provides an extra layer of understanding which might encourage more of us to try this simple and effective tool to control our stress or anxiety levels.
Breathing techniques are not just 'mind tricks', they produce a bodily response that lowers your anxiety in a very physical way.
3. Why does it work?
Deep breathing techniques all have one thing in common, they work by stimulating what is known as the Parasympathetic Nervous System.
You may have heard of the 'fight or flight' response, the Parasympathetic Nervous System is simply the opposite of that ('fight or flight' is the term for the activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System) -
instead of getting you ready for action, deep breathing activates a natural bodily response that can be described as 'rest and digest’.
Out-breaths decrease your blood pressure, dilate your pupils and slow your heart rate thus lowering emotional arousal in the process.
Practising a breathing technique a few times a day will lower your overall stress levels in the long term, and let you access a more balanced view on life.
I hope you will like these exercises - pls. start with audio file 1 for a week until listening to the next one.