Tip: This is a good time to start consciously checking that the awareness you are cultivating in any breath practice is filtering into how you cope with stressful situations.
How: At the end of Phase 1, you are probably feeling more aware of your breath and situations where you might hold breath, shallow breath or tense your shoulders. Refer back to the Breath Awareness section on page 191 of The De-Stress Diet and consider the following questions to help you apply these principles to where really needed:
- Do I feel ‘locked’ in body and mind sometimes and then notice my breath held up into my head?
- Do I feel things quickly getting to boiling point and only after noticing that I’m holding my breath?
- Do I feel my chest tightening and constant neck and shoulder tightness after bouts of stress?
If yes to any of these, an hourly breath break of the De-Stress 10 Deep Breaths (page 195) can be a great proactive solution. Rather than remembering to breath after the event, setting a habit can help recondition a body that is not used to accessing its own natural coping mechanisms. You can even set a gentle vibrate or gong alarm on your phone and remember, even a few conscious breaths is worth it.
Why: Remember that habits of disordered breathing may be long-term and every single breath needs awareness to keep coming back to a sense of spaciousness and calm.
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