How to Create Space to Slow Down and Breathe Every Day
We’re living in a world where “stressed” is the new baseline and “busy” is worn as a badge of honor. We run from place to place, from task to task, feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end of a long—but productive—day, shrugging off the nagging feeling that we can’t keep up the whirlwind pace.
And, in truth, we can’t.
Carving out space throughout the day to slow down, relax, and breathe may seem an unnecessary luxury – but it’s those moments of connecting the mind and body that restore the homeostasis that is disrupted during periods of stress.
Why Breathwork Alleviates Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety tend to manifest physically when the mind is disconnected from the body—when we mentally transport ourselves to the past or future and lose sight of the present moment.
Pausing to focus on the breath strengthens the mind-body connection and brings us back to experience present-moment sensation. The added benefit? Intentionally lengthening our exhalations and expanding the entire diaphragm slows and deepens the breath—and triggers our parasympathetic nervous system, telling our bodies to physically relax.
More specifically, slow, deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, a key component of the parasympathetic nervous system. A healthy vagus nerve is associated with physical and mental well-being, while the converse is associated with inflammation, depression, and other negative physical and mental ailments.
And since prolonged or chronic stress increases inflammation in the body—which can lead to an array of other health issues—actively training the parasympathetic nervous system is critical to combat the pervasive stress-induced anxiety that is a natural by-product of today’s fast-paced world.
How to Create Space to Slow Down in the Workplace
During the yoga and wellness workshop I led for a corporate audience this past week, we talked a lot about the importance of incorporating breathwork and meditation into workplace routines.
It might seem impossible to integrate breathwork into your busy schedule, but all it takes is a simple act of prioritization. Notice what triggers feelings of anxiety or heightened stress throughout your day, and start to build mini-breathwork breaks into your routine accordingly. Block 15 minutes on your calendar before or after meetings, and promise yourself that time to relax, unplug from technology, and restore your mind-body connection.
By training your parasympathetic nervous system in periodic intervals throughout your day, you strengthen your vagus nerve – benefiting your immune function, metabolism, and emotional regulation – all of which help you thrive and show up as the healthiest, most empowered version of yourself.
Interested in quick and simple breathwork demos to get you started? I’ll be sharing instructional videos on Instagram this week to break down some of my favorite breathwork techniques. Follow me for guidance to jumpstart your breathwork practice!