Of late, I am coming across a lot of people struggling with stress from work, studies, travel, and relationships—and all of these things running in their minds have started affecting their overall health. Why are we allowing stress to overpower our bodies and mind? We all know that stress is part and parcel of life and that is why even our body has a fight and flight mode to prepare our body from a stressful condition.
That means our sympathetic nervous system is activated wherein our nervous system prepares our body for stress by increasing our heart rate and blood flow to the muscles while decreasing blood flow to the skin and a few other organs. This consistent increase in heart rate and elevated levels of cortisol or the stress hormone can create issues by increasing our risk of hypertension, stroke etc.
That is why we have to understand that we can’t get rid of stress, but we can learn to relax instead. How you ask? With the help of oxygen, the life force within our body, we get prana—subtle energy. When we focus on deep breathing, the oxygen level helps in reducing the cortisol or stress levels in the body. Try to master the art of deep breathing and you’ll notice how instantly you are able to relax and manage the stress. Try to add a basic anulom vilom (breathing technique) in your morning routine and continue doing it throughout the day to bring in more oxygen into your body.
You will observe your breathing getting better day by day—your chest and lungs opening up slowly and gaining strength gradually. Your exhale should always be double the amount of inhale to flush out carbon dioxide and improve lung capacity. You can follow the 3-3-6 technique wherein you inhale for 3, hold for 3, and exhale for 6 seconds or you can even try a 4-4-6 technique. The more regularly you practise deep breathing, the more you will feel calm.
Here’s to a less stressed and more relaxed version of you!
Chief Nutrition Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic
Healing Systems. The writer is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.