When was the last time you looked forward to waiting for your plane at the airport? What if waiting anywhere was an opportunity to experience bliss? Just imagine trading boredom, impatience, and the tension from everyday stresses for calm, centered moments with a few simple breathing exercises.
Then imagine turning off your cell phone for a little while and gently closing your eyes. Place the palm of your hand over your belly and inhale deeply through your nose, filling your belly with air.
Exhale through your nose and pull your belly inward. Pretend that with every inhale you are blowing up a balloon. And with every exhale you are letting all of the air out. Your hand in this position will help you focus on the rhythm of your breath. As you continue to breathe deeply, gently let go of any tension you may be holding in your body.
To further deepen your relaxation response, you can add this grounding exercise if you like. Continue to breathe deeply and imagine roots growing from the bottom of your feet down into the center of the earth. Practice this for several breaths.
Then imagine bringing earth energy up through your feet and into the rest of your body. Once this feels natural, alternate between inhaling earth energy into your body and exhaling roots deep into the earth. Continue this rhythm until you feel calm, centered and at peace.
If you experience any lightheadedness, find yourself yawning, or experience difficulty taking a deep breath into your belly, these are all signs that you haven’t been getting enough oxygen.
Fight or Flight
Did you know that holding your breath or shallow breathing initiates the fight or flight response in the body? This is a natural response to stress and trauma because it prepares you to fight or flee by sending adrenaline coursing through the body.
Stress and trauma always results in a temporary or long-term change in your breathing pattern. Shallow breathing done throughout the day means you are not living in your normal energy system. Instead, you are relying on a kind of energy (adrenaline) that is meant to be used like a savings account – for emergencies only.
Those who find flying stressful are often unaware that they have been holding their breath in anticipation, or are breathing shallowly. Once you hold your breath, you have 17 seconds to start breathing normally again before you have that adrenaline for an hour – whether you need it or not.
A hyper-vigilant adrenaline-induced state leaves you very sensitive to anger, and it does not make any distinction between real or perceived threats. Excessive worry, negative thoughts, and ruminating can leave you feeling keyed up or on edge. Adrenaline also makes every emotion seem more intense, especially anger and frustration.
Living in the adrenaline zone can leave you feeling fatigued, agitated, anxious and restless. It is impossible to feel at peace in this state. So take a very deep breath of life and let your cares and worries melt away.