Sometimes wedding planning gets very stressful or there are times when anxiety, excitement, and a general rush of adrenaline can keep you from thinking straight or sleeping well. This is when you need to breathe. When we get stressed, we tend to breathe quick shallow breaths, and this actually contributes to stress. Here are two techniques that can help you fix your stress with your breath:
1. The 4-7-8 breath. This is especially useful in helping you fall and stay asleep if your mind is racing. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for a full 8 seconds. It might take you a few breaths to get the hang of the timing, but once you do, your body, mind, and your heart rate will slow down, and you will fall asleep quickly.
2. Breath Counting. Some people use this to meditate, but is handy in a pinch if you need to quickly clear your head or regain your focus. Start by sitting up straight but comfortably and close your eyes if you can. Inhale deeply and while you exhale, say the word “one”. Inhale again and next time exhale and say the word “two”. Continue until you get to “five”. Don’t count higher than five- if you are still stressed, start over at “one” and repeat the cycle. You’ll know your attention is wandering if you suddenly find yourself saying “eight” or “twelve” - this is a sign to start over and re-focus.
Bottom Line: When we get stressed, we tend to breathe quick shallow breaths, and this actually contributes to stress symptoms since we don't bring in a lot of oxygen. Take a second and take a deep breath to easily help you feel better and more relaxed.