Control, Alt, Delete for your Bodymind
Rebooting your system
Another way, which I will discuss here, is to remember to breathe! Of course all of you reading this blog have been successfully breathing for your entire lives so this advice may seem a little pointless. Of course I don’t mean breathing in just any old fashion; what I am referring to is conscious slow and deep breathing... a skill that most of us do not cultivate. Witnessing your breath provides a wonderful pattern interrupt so that you can step out of the drama and emerge with a new sense of clarity.
There are various breathing techniques that we can use for this emotional reboot. The simple practice I will describe here is based on the work of meditation teacher extraordinaire Davidji. He calls it Sixteen Seconds to Bliss. If 'Bliss' sounds a little New Age to you then feel free to call it Sixteen Seconds to Clarity. It is like a mini meditation for those who think that they cannot meditate or simply feel that they don’t have the time. Even those who do meditate every day can benefit from this short time-out when life’s day to day struggles appear to be overwhelming.
Sixteen Seconds to Bliss
All you need to do is follow these simple steps.
- Close your eyes if it is safe to do so.
- Now try to think a stressful thought which I am sure is not too difficult for most of you.
- Then relax your tongue and rest it on the floor of your mouth. According to psychotherapist, integrative health-care specialist and author Dawson Church relaxing your tongue tells the body that you are safe so there is no reason to go into survival mode. I for one have been unable to hold on to stressful thoughts when my tongue is relaxed in this way.
- 0-4 seconds: Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and from your belly to the count of four, placing your awareness on your breath as the air enters through your nostrils and slowly fills your lungs. Breathing through your nose enables you to breathe deeper than if you gulp air through your mouth.
- 5-8 seconds: Hold your breath to the count of four while remembering to keep your tongue loose and on the floor of your mouth.
- 9-12 seconds: Slowly and gently breathe out from you belly and through your nose to the count of four, continuing to observe your breath as it is released upwards and outwards.
- 13-16 seconds: Hold your breath to the count of four, all the while keeping your tongue relaxed.
- Return to regular breathing
I doubt that you were able to maintain the stressful thought.
In only sixteen seconds you can reduce your blood pressure, slow your pulse rate, suppresses stress hormones, elevate your growth and sex hormone levels, and bolster your immune system; and when practised regularly the effects last considerably beyond those sixteen seconds. Once it becomes a habit you can use this simple tool inconspicuously during most stressful situations, enabling you to step back from chaos and into a resourceful state. Of course it will not always be safe or convenient to close your eyes but the open-eyed version is also very effective. This technique can be used during a toilet break to great effect but for us guys I don’t recommend it while standing in front of the urinals!