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What are the moments in life when we need a deep breath the most? When do we have to tell ourselves: “Okay, take a deep breath, you’ll be fine”? Medical oxygen users know the value of good breathing, but not all people react to moments in life equally. Sometimes things happen that jostle the system, and it’s in those moments when you need deep breaths the most.
It may sound like a mental mind trick at first, but taking a deep breath triggers a real physiological response in the body that initiates the calm:
“Rapid breathing is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. It’s part of the ‘fight or flight’ response — the part activated by stress. In contrast, slow, deep breathing actually stimulates the opposing parasympathetic reaction — the one that calms us down”
So when you find yourself in situations where rapid breathing is activated, keep this tried-and-true simple method in your back pocket in order to trigger the opposite response in your body.
1. Public Speaking
Speaking in front of a crowd consistently ranks #1 on people’s list of most feared and hated things to do, so much so that it has its own phobia – Glossophobia. With that, of course, comes a tremendous amount of stress.
Speaking in front of people is definitely a deep breath moment. If you find yourself giving a talk, presentation, or toast in front of friends and colleagues, taking a deep breath is a sure fire way to bring your anxiety and breathing down to a more comfortable level.
2. Social Interactions
Have you ever been to a function where you don’t know many people? Or even worse, have you been to a function where you see someone that makes you anxious? These are real feelings, and they’re not good for stress: psychologists have found that negative social interactions increase the risk of hypertension, with women experiencing this affect more profoundly than their male counterparts.
Hypertension has a direct, negative affect on breathing, which is why it’s so important to recognize that affect and try to counter-balance it with deep breaths.
Related Content: Top 6 Social Benefits of Medical Oxygen
3. Sifting Through Finances
Does balancing your checkbook stress you out? It probably comes as little surprise that financial concerns can flare up stress in one’s life.
According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of people said “money” was a source of stress, and 49 % listed “housing costs” as well. Worrying accomplishes very little, however. In fact, if money issues are inducing stress, it’s a good idea to try some deep breaths in order to keep stress at a minimum and think through the problem with a level head, instead of addressing the situation with heightened anxiety.
Anyone who has ever sat through a traffic jam knows how it can drive stress levels through the roof. The clock ticks away, you make zero progress, and your plans have to change or be altered on the fly. Health central reminds us that “We have a good level of personal control over driver stress and it’s important to acknowledge this. […] A little relaxing music can help. Driving is as much a state of mind as anything else.” Taking a deep breath will go a long way in acknowledging that “personal control” we have over driver stress.
Huff Post Healthy Living points out that even happy life events can somehow cause stress and anxiety. Birthdays appear on their list for the reason that another year gone by tends to make us contemplative and be hyper-aware of our goals in life. They recommend mindfulness practices in order to “stay present”, and part of that can include taking deep breaths.
Retirement is also listed as one happy event that can still induce stress. While the work is over, often times the planning is just beginning. There is newfound free time, not to mention new financial challenges. It will all feel more manageable if these experiences are viewed as new opportunities, not obstacles. Part of getting into that frame of mind starts with taking some relaxing deep breaths.
A deep breath isn’t a solve-all, but it is a good first step in many high-stress situations. The best thing to do is be mindful of what triggers we have for stress, and to remember the deep breaths even more during those times.
For Inogen’s own solutions to better breathing, visit the world of Inogen One concentrators.