Keep Breathing

Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:41 am by

Deb Lang­hans shares some thoughts about keep­ing your men­tal health…

Deb Langhans - Contributed photo

Are you hold­ing your breath these days? With all the med­ical, eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal and envi­ron­men­tal upheaval upon us, is it any wonder?

Breath is life. It might be our most faith­ful life­long com­pan­ion as well as a barom­e­ter of how we’re per­ceiv­ing our world: When we feel stressed, as in such times of uncer­tain­ty and insta­bil­i­ty, we hold our breath and breathe more shal­low­ly. But we don’t have to stay in that fight/flight/freeze response; we can use our breath to calm and ground our­selves so our per­spec­tive and expe­ri­ence become more positive.

One tried and true ancient breath­ing tech­nique I fre­quent­ly teach my clients is called 4–7‑8 Breath­ing. If you’re not famil­iar with it, I encour­age you to try the fol­low­ing: Inhale through your nose to the silent count of 4 (a lit­tle less than 4 sec­onds in dura­tion); hold that breath for 7 counts; exhale through your mouth—an audi­ble release is nice—for 8 counts. Repeat this breath cycle 3–5 times. When you’re more famil­iar with this process, you can do more cycles. (If I awak­en at 3 a.m. in the morn­ing unable to tame my rac­ing thoughts, I do 10 of these 4–7‑8 breath cycles and typ­i­cal­ly fall right back to sleep!) 4–7‑8 Breath­ing actu­al­ly allows you to chem­i­cal­ly shift your body from the sym­pa­thet­ic ner­vous sys­tem to the parasym­pa­thet­ic ner­vous sys­tem or relax­ation response. It’s a fan­tas­tic ally you can car­ry with you and call upon wher­ev­er and when­ev­er needed.

Though we’re all expe­ri­enc­ing chal­leng­ing times, we can learn to bet­ter han­dle them by min­i­miz­ing our stress and max­i­miz­ing our inner resources. Breath is one pow­er­ful way we can make that ther­a­peu­tic shift. There are many oth­er proven skills and prac­tices that can become healthy habits. Our fren­zied thoughts and dif­fi­cult emo­tions don’t need to define or con­trol us! If you’re inter­est­ed in learn­ing how to help your­self become more empow­ered, espe­cial­ly dur­ing times like these, I invite you to con­sid­er the ser­vices at Jour­neys to Heal­ing: wholis­tic life coach­ing, reflex­ol­o­gy, mind­ful­ness coach­ing, grief recov­ery and Inner Jour­ney Col­lage©. I’ve also begun devel­op­ing a series of “well­ness” prod­ucts that help rein­force healthy habits. Check out my web­site: I can also be reached @ & 360.317.4526.

Please con­tin­ue to hon­or the state and coun­ty pro­to­cols that keep us and our larg­er com­mu­ni­ty safe dur­ing this pan­dem­ic. And when­ev­er you dis­cov­er your­self hold­ing your breath and feel­ing over­whelmed by it all, remem­ber that ther­a­peu­tic 4–7‑8 Breathing.

Here’s to focus­ing more fre­quent­ly on what we can con­trol!

My best, Deb (Lang­hans)
Jour­neys to Healing

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

Categories: Health & Wellness

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0