CE Insight: The Fastest Way To Calm Down

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You know that feeling when stress creeps up, and suddenly you feel a bit anxious, fidgety, on alert, your heart rate speeding up, and your breath shallow?

It can be hard to focus and be comfortable in this space. That's the autonomic nervous system kicking into gear, prepping you for fight or flight.

This is typically brought on by stress, deadlines, too much work, traffic, non-grounded news, a tense conversation etc.

Your nervous system is there to help keep you safe. But, the life we are living now doesn't resemble the world of our past where we had physical dangers, like vicious animals, hunting us.

In those past scenarios, our 'danger' system would come on for a short period until the danger is gone, and then shut off. But in modern life, it comes on and often stays on for long periods of time. Becoming an energy drain until we regulate again.

How do we regulate again? Enter the Physiological Sigh.

This was a classic part of my breathwork training from years ago, and it ties deeply into nervous system regulation as well.

Think of the breath for a moment in this scenario. When we are amped up or anxious, our breath becomes shallow and fast... amping us up further.

But what if you could consciously say "Hey, let's do an intentionally longer exhale to slow our heart and nervous system down?"

That's what the physiological sigh is all about!

Here's how to do it:

1. First off, notice your body in the moment for a few seconds. Feel some of the energy in your system. Be with the experience you're having right now.

2. Next, take two fairly deep inhales through the nose. (2 or 3 seconds total). Comfortably fill the belly first if you can, then the chest.

3. Then slowly exhale all the air out through the mouth, as relaxed as you can. (5 or 6 seconds total)

On the exhale, let your shoulders drop, let your body relax. Breathe eeeaaasssssyyy. And let it all out but don't force or become tense.

4. Repeat this cycle a few times, and when you're done, take one final big inhale through the nose, hold it for a second, and let it out with a sigh.

For about a minute or two, notice what changes after the breath. Pay curious attention.

Remember, use this when you feel a bit too amped up, or anxious, or when you are trying to settle your system bit.

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