Someone recently asked me what I do when stressful times present. Well, there have been plenty of opportunities to deal with stress lately for all of us, so I thought I would share my technique for high stress situations. Mindful breathing.

Not only does this scientifically work, as prolonged exhales speak to the sympathetic nervous system and slow the heart rate, it can be done anytime, anywhere.

If possible, find a quiet and supported place to sit. If you are in the car, or somewhere else where this is not possible, don’t worry about that part.

Inhale though your nose and exhale through slightly parted lips.

On your inhale, choose a word that describes the stress you are feeling. It should come pretty easily, but here are some examples:

anxiety – stress – anger – sadness – selfishness

On your exhale, choose a word that is the opposite:

calmness – clarity – love – joy – gratitude

Build upon your words with lengthened breath. Inhale for a longer count, and use your word or words to lengthen your count. Continue this for as long as you can, even if it is for a minute it will change the chemical flow within and free you, even a bit, from the grip of whatever it was that had you. Feel free to let the words flow. Your mind will get used to it and your breath will become longer and smoother.

Remember, each day, each hour, each moment is an opportunity to begin again with more clarity as we learn and grow from our experiences. Nothing is stronger than the power of our thoughts. Our lives can’t be valued in money or things, they are valued by our experience and the actions we take to bring love and compassion to life. Choose to focus on what makes you better, what makes us, and this world better, and you will always feel better.

For a free daily guided meditation app try

To your health,

Coach Michelle