Switch off stress

YOURS (UK) - - Feeling Great -

Long-term stress isn’t great for your body – but there is some very good news about your stress re­sponse. “It’s very sim­ple,” says Fran. “Your stress re­sponse is ei­ther off or it’s on. Your body has two states that it can op­er­ate in – high stress mode (fight or flight) or re­laxed mode (rest and di­gest) and it can’t be in both at once.”There’s a part of your brain called your amyg­dala, which tells your body whether it’s time to be stressed or time to re­lax and you can trick this part of your brain to switch off stress and turn on re­lax­ation very eas­ily if you know how.

“Your stress re­sponse causes your breath­ing to be­come quick and shal­low,” says Fran. “By mind­fully do­ing ex­actly the op­po­site – breath­ing deeply and slowly – you can con­vince your amyg­dala that all is well and get it to turn off your stress re­sponse. As far as your amyg­dala is con­cerned, it is im­pos­si­ble to breathe deeply in an emer­gency.”

Try Fran’s 4-7-8 breath­ing tech­nique to calm your­self down. Breathe in through your nose deeply for a slow count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven and then ex­hale through pursed lips for a count of eight. “While you are breath­ing in this way, it is im­pos­si­ble for your body to be in stress mode and it al­lows your en­tire sys­tem to be calm,” says Fran. “It is usu­ally enough to re­peat this tech­nique four times to get the ben­e­fit, but you can con­tinue for as long as is com­fort­able to you.”

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