Extreme Kindness

Extreme Kindness

Just Breathe

This past weekend Brad and I spoke to a group of volunteers at the 2008 Vitalize conference in Edmonton. One of the topics we addressed with the enthusiastic group was health. For anyone in the world of service, learning how to find balance and restore energy is imperative. Essentially, a person must learn to be well to ensure they are able to function properly and to serve others in the workplace, at home and in the community.

Every time I step onto a plane, I am reminded of the necessity of taking care of self before others. At the beginning of the flight the steward announced the safety instructions of the airplane including, in the event of an emergency, and a loss of oxygen in the cabin, an clear mask will drop from the ceiling. If you are with a small child, please remember to place the mask on yourself first. A Simple message, that transfers into the rest of our lives. When we experience stress, or challenges in our life and we always do, we must remember to take care of ourselves, or our stress, like having no oxygen will incapacitate us.

A simple tool to help release stress and calm the body is called, diaphragmatic breathing. Complicate name, simple technique! This exercise involves breathing deeply from our belly, instead of our chest, where we tend breath from to as a result of stress. The miracle of this method is that where the breath goes, the body follows. During stress, our sympathetic nervous system is over-stimulated producing an increased heart rate, perspiration, muscle tension and breathing. As we slow down the breath and take in more oxygen, all of these stress responses decrease and we begin to feel calmer and more relaxed.

The next time you feel overwhelmed or stresses, just breath deeply.

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