2 min

Breathe like this to reduce your stress.

2 min

Last week I had a really activated day. I was giving a full day workshop at a client. I had to make all the physical preparations (collecting ice for the ice bath, bringing enough yoga mats, taking a tv with me) and was fully mentally committed during the day to give the best of my self.

Additionally, when I arrived I noticed that the tv I took to present was broken and I forgot my charger cable from my pc. Not ideal when you need to present all day.

There was overall not a lot of stress involved in the sense that I was not nervous, but of course my body went into an activated, performing state as can be seen on the next graph.

My physiological stress responses during the day

The whole day I was completely red. There is no good and bad in the red and green, but having no green (parasympathetic activation - meaning recovery) during the day is not ideal.

In the end everything went well and additionally I was able to enjoy a really (n)ice cold bath at the end :)

Enjoying the cold

When driving home, I noticed that my activation levels were not immediately decreasing. Also not strange, since our bodies do not automatically go into recovery after an intense day.

Then I decided to this very easy exercise which immediately and drastically brought down my stress levels and even introduced some first recovery of the day.

Dropping the stress levels

 At 18:53 you notice that the stress graph drops like a waterfall and stays low. What happened? 

Well, I have been doing heart coherent breathing. A very easy exercise which goes as follows:

  • You breathe in through the nose in 4 seconds
  • You exhale softly through the mouth in 6 seconds
  • You repeat this for min 10 minutes

While doing this exercise, my Heart Rate Variability increases immediately from 30 ms to 46 ms which can be seen on the next picture (look at the bottom black graph around 18:50) 

A rise in HRV around 18:50

So doing this exercise made me feel relaxed, I started yawning and felt the rest response being activated. 

This exercise can be done anywhere, anyplace when you feel stressed. Before a meeting, during a break, when commuting,...

Keep breathing!