If I pay attention, I can feel my body tightening and contracting when I’m getting stressed at my desk. I also stop breathing. Alright, so I don’t stop breathing all together, but when I get stressed, I do take shallower and shallower breaths and constrict my chest, clench my jaw, etc. I know there is not anything terribly original about the way my body reacts to this work-related stress, but I have to remind myself to breath and stretch when I start to feel under the gun.
All this tightening and constriction actually cuts off some of the flow of blood and oxygen and only makes me feel more stressed and less able to think clearly. The solution? Breathing. Taking deep, cleansing breaths and getting up to stretch and breathe when you feel yourself start to get tense is a good thing. If you are like me and you feel your body succumb to business and work stress during the day, then taking time out to breathe through some of that tension will help you to make better decisions and feel better able to cope with the challenges and difficulties.
The trick is to breathe slowly and deeply, stretching out your mid-section (or even standing up and lengthening your body) so that the air can really move through. Try to feel your muscles relax as you let the breath out—paying special attention to your neck and shoulders where we can store so much tension. Consider breathing and relaxing your face too as this is another place where we naturally store stress and tension.
Since most of us work alone in our home businesses, we don’t really have anyone around to remind us to take a break or to let go of stressors when we find ourselves getting tense. In fact, without someone to encourage us and inspire some balance, we might push ourselves even harder. Remember to look after yourself and when you feel things getting tight and tense…breathe!
See Also: Listen, Breathe and Think