Exercise: How to Slow Things Down

by Jasmin Harsono
mental health

When the brain overloads with too many things to do, negative thoughts and outcomes swirling round, stress levels are heightened and our mind, body and spirit becomes out of sync.

Symptoms of stress; triggers an alert to the automatic nervous system and it perceives the body is under threat.

The human body automatically switches on the ‘fight or flight’ mode a mechanism in the body which creates a lot of energy quickly to cope with threats to survival. It actually works very well in a life threatening situation providing the body with boosted energy levels to get through a scary situation. For example, if a bear confronts you in a forest. The body would start the ‘fight or flight response to deal with the situation quickly, giving the person a better chance of survival. That is really good. However, in today’s society, the pressures that life brings can put our bodies and brains through multiple episodes of stress triggers daily that are not life threatening.

The part of the brain that activates the automated response of ‘fight or flight’ mode, the amygdala ( part of the brain that involves experiencing emotions ) can not decide if it is a threat or not. In most cases when the ‘fight or flight’ response triggers it is a false alarm; there is no threat to survival.

The adrenal cortex automatically releases stress hormones and the heart automatically beats harder and faster. Breathing automatically becomes more rapid. The Thyroid gland automatically stimulates the metabolism and larger muscles in the body receive more oxygenated blood. You’ll notice that at every stage the word ‘automatically’ has been used because the ‘fight or flight’ response is ‘automated’.

It is important to try to recognise your own stress triggers to combat stress at the early stages. You can take control back of how your mind and body works and functions. We often ‘freeze’ when the mind goes into ‘fight or flight’ response, allowing the symptoms of stress to amplify through the body. This is where we get symptoms like sweating, tension and pain in our neck or symptoms much worse. Look out for early signs; a lump feeling in the throat or butterflies in the stomach.

When you begin to realise your own stress triggers, tell yourself it is time to take control back and slow things down. Even if you think you are too rushed off your feet, sparing twenty minutes to reset and slow down will do your mind, body and spirit a world of good. 

This is a great exercise to also do daily in the am, pm or both.

Exercise 

Take it slow, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Find a quiet spot and take time to just breathe. For ten minutes breathe in for 7 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts and then exhale for 8. On the exhale you can vocally sound out with ‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh‘ removing all negative toxins, thoughts and feelings. Giving yourself time to realign, reset and put all into perspective by slowing down.

Stay sitting in this space, come back to breathing normally and for ten minutes more just let your thoughts drift in and out. Be still and enjoy this time with yourself, love yourself, be kind and just let go, consciously feeling that your body is now lighter.

You can also try this great exercise daily in the am, pm or both. It is great to do during a lunchbreak.

See what difference it makes to you. Remember to understand how your mind and body functions, helps you take control back. Knowledge is power. Give it a try 🙂

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