Being Well – Living Well
August 5, 2015

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The break you need is One Conscious Breath away.

I need a break! How many times have you thought this lately?

If being overtired, overwhelmed, frustrated, in pain, angry, or impatient were a currency we’d all be wealthy.  Too many of us are “in the black” when it comes to energy, fun, calm, and contentment.  Being busy, many of us are habituated to being overwhelmed; we’ve lost the knowledge that our brains and bodies are literally wired to be calm, balanced, creative, compassionate, energetic and loving.  That’s how this wonderful machine we call a body is built.  Regrettably, most people don’t know how to switch from chaos to calm and have forgotten how incredible it is to be living in the zone of balance and relaxation.

Here’s how it works:

Whether we’re frenetic and overwhelmed or calm and focused is completely determined by which of the two branches of our nervous system is turned on in any given moment: the Sympathetic branch, the part that gets us stressed, or the Parasympathetic branch, the part of the nervous system that has us being calm, balanced, and relaxed. By activating the relaxed branch, we stop the stress hormones from pumping out of our brains and instead, enjoy feeling restored and balanced.

Feeling Well comes when there’s balance between the two branches of the the Nervous System

If you’re interested in the physiological information of the Autonomic Nervous system, check out this link: http://www.dantest.com/dtransoverview.htm

Switching Gears: From Chaos to Calm

The fastest and easiest way to access the Relaxation branch of the nervous system is through our breath. By focusing our attention on our breathing, we gain access to, and can relax into being present, relaxed, balanced and fully engaged in what’s happening.

Being fully aware of our breathing shifts us from stressed to relaxed, overwhelmed to calm.

Our breathing, our respiratory system is in constant conversation with our nervous system. It’s a two-way conversation that impacts our day and yet, we rarely notice it. How we’re breathing, moment-by-moment through the day is a mirror reflecting which branch of our nervous system is activated.  This relationship is so intricately connected that with practice you will notice that each emotional state has a corresponding pattern of breathing.

Getting to Know You: Breath by Breath.

Check in with yourself to get to know when you’re out of balance, otherwise you will find yourself exhausted, depleted and not particularly happy. This imbalance shows itself in many ways. How many of the following are you experiencing this week?

Anger, impatience aggressiveness, argumentative, shut down, hibernating/avoidence, exhaustion, unable to sleep, high blood pressure, tension headaches.  

 Any time you’re experiencing one or more of the above(feel free to add more to the list) it’s your opportunity to engage the 3 R’s.

Recognize that you’re feeling off. That’s the balance of the system tilting the wrong way.

Refocus your attention to your breathing.

Return to calm, restorative and balanced.

Refocusing our attention to our breathing can feel oddly unfamiliar and even uncomfortable in the beginning.  Keeping our attention on such a simple thing as breathe in – breathe out can trigger boredom when we’re used to high energy over stimulation.  Create the intention to stay present to whatever arises; thoughts, feelings and sensations will always come up into our awareness, that’s how we’re wired. Simply notice each one without judgment, but with kindness and you’ll find more space to take in what’s going on: rapid or slow breathing,the flow of air, the sensations of air entering and leaving, the rise and fall of the belly and chest

Our nervous system (how we feel) and respiratory system (how we breathe) equally impact each other.   By paying attention to our breathing the breath slows down and deepens. It’s automatic.  Focusing our awareness on our breath triggers relaxed breathing, which tells the nervous system to start up the parasympathetic branch. Relaxed breathing is our access to feeling well, balanced.

The challenge after spending so much time out of balance is remembering that we have a choice and can exercise that choice. I know that whenever I’m feeling off, impatient, anxious, bored, upset, that it’s time to shift.  Sometimes when I’m super stressed, it takes a few tries to fully bring my awareness to One Conscious Breath. 100% of the time, the moment my mind’s attention drops into my breathing, I calm down, relax and have access to a broader menu of possibilities.

To download One Conscious Breathe  Click here

It only takes a moment to shift from chaos to calm using mindful conscious breathing. Check out the impact for yourself and see how easily you can create the break you want and need.

Carrie Mudrick Rubel

In order to Be Well – Live Well we must find a balance between stress and relaxation. Without this balance our lives are controlled by our habitual stress responses which inevitably cause breakdowns in our health and our relationships.  Practising relaxation creates the habit of responding to life’s challenges, rather than reacting and opens up new opportunities to enjoy balance and equanimity.

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An unabashed Wellness Geek, Carrie’s motivated to bring Wellness experiences and learning to people and organizations who are ready to stop being overwhelmed and are ready to Live Well by Being Well. Massage On Wheels and The Wellness Edge provide services, experiences and and fun for Wellness, Health, Marketing and sharing. It’s time to take control of your Well Being. You can reach her at: carrie@thewellnessedge.ca.

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