In today’s blog post, you’ll learn about an extremely powerful tool that YOU can use to decrease stress and overwhelm, boost your energy, increase your focus, and more.
It’s also a tool that YOUR KIDS can use to soothe themselves whether they get upset if they don’t get their way, get nervous before a test, get anxious before a game, wake up from a bad dream or feel overwhelmed by their crammed schedule.
Yes, it’s a tool that builds resilience for ALL ages!
AND, it’s available to everyone 24 hours a day every single day FREE of charge. Does that make for a must-learn or what?
The Powerful Tool Revealed!
Hold your breath! You’re about to learn what it is. Are you holding your breath? Hold it …
Ok, now BREEEEEATHE. It feels much better to breathe, doesn’t it? Breathing after holding your breath even for a few seconds can help remind you how good it feels to breathe easy.
So can you guess what the tool is? It’s a close friend of yours. It’s your BREATH.
Our breath is so intimately tied to our feelings and emotions that the quality of it could tell someone else how we’re feeling even before we could articulate it in words.
For example, when you’re surprised, the other person would hear you inhale a deep, sharp breath. When you’re relieved, they’d hear you sigh. When you’re scared, they’d hear you taking quick, shallow breaths. When you’re tired, they’d hear you yawn.
The reason for this intimate connection is because our breath is controlled by our nervous system, which is the part of us that regulates our bodies’ response to stimuli that generate our feelings and emotions.
This is getting a little science-y, but go with me because it will help you understand why learning to control your breath can help you gain control over your stress, emotions and mood.
Geeky Science (the most interesting part if you’re anything like me)
Your vagus nerve is the largest nerve in your body that runs from your brainstem down your spinal cord, connecting your brain, heart and lungs. It’s part of your central nervous system (CNS). This brain – heart – lungs connector manages many of your body’s functions and governs your mind.
When you encounter stress, a distress signal is sent to a part of your brain called the amygdala, which triggers your sympathetic nervous system (SNS). When this happens, stress hormones are released that create a “flight, fight or freeze” response in your body in order to protect you from the perceived danger.
The key to reducing anxiety, stress and fear and increasing your feelings of calm, control and peace is to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS is the part of your nervous system that controls your bodies’ ability to “rest and digest”.
When the PNS is stimulated, your brain releases hormones that induce a calming response. They’ve rightly earned the nickname the “happy hormones” because they are hormones that make you feel good.
What’s role does the vagus nerve play in all of this?
The vagus nerve is the primary nerve in the PNS. It is what initiates the relaxation response allowing those feel good hormones to work their magic.
The more we actively stimulate the vagus nerve, the more toned it becomes and the better job it will do when we need it to help us regulate our mood and emotions.
How can you stimulate it? The easiest and most powerful way is by learning to control your breath.
For Your Kids
Depending on your kids’ ages, you don’t really need to teach your kids all of this. What you can teach them regardless of their age is that their breath is a powerful tool they can use anytime they want to calm or soothe themselves.
The very first step in learning to control the breath, especially with kids, is to help kids create a deeper awareness of their breath.
This breathing technique will help them do this. The purpose of this technique is simply to help children create a mind-breath connection. Your children will likely experience a change in their emotions as a result of doing it. This can create a nice dialogue once you’re finished. But the goal of this technique is not so much to elicit a relaxation response as much as it is to heighten their awareness of their breath and their ability to control it.
Access this technique on my Tools page anytime! (It’s under Kids/Tweens/Teens section.)
We want to hear from you! Comment below to share your experience or you can always email me, I want to hear all about it, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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