Stress Less: Instant Interrupt

Stress Less: Instant Interrupt And The Fool Proof Way To Undo The Panic Mode

In this installment of the Life Blowup Prevention Project, we continue to reverse engineer problems and find ways to address them at the root. Today we will explore how to prevent toxic stress by staying in the parasympathetic nervous system mode through diaphragmatic breathing and how to do it properly. You will prevent a decline in memory, creativity and problem solving, stress-induced insomnia, irritability and break down in relationships and many stress-related health problems like high blood pressure, digestive issues, weight gain, and fatigue. You will never again waste time “belly breathing” and wonder why it doesn’t work.


Hello, and welcome back to the Life Blow Up Prevention Project Today we’re going to continue our conversation about eliminating stress, and we’re going to do this by breathing. And if you’re rolling your eyes because you’ve heard so much about breathing, let me tell you something.

In the last 20 years of clinical practice I met two people who are now to breathe, and they were both opera singers and I think it’s a conversation worth continuing until we get it right. 

So, what happens when we’re stressed? When we’re stressed we stop breathing, hold the breath or breathe very shallow from up here. 

Most of the oxygen exchange actually happens in the bottom portion of the lung, so if we habitually breathe from here we become chronically oxygenated. Without food and water you can go for days,  without air, few minutes, and you’re dead. So when we are running on a deficit of oxygen, what happens is you trigger your fight or flight response. 

There are very important things that happen when you are running away from a lion, real or imaginary. Whether it’s a deadline at work or your kids or whatever is happening in your life,  the physical response is the same, your blood pressure goes up, your digestion shuts down, You can’t sleep because part of your nervous system is still looking for that lion to eat you. So, you are entering very high energy,  breakdown mode, and your digestion is impaired so you cannot repair properly, and you cannot think straight. 

There’s no time for logical thinking when your life is in danger so your logic,  your knowledge, your resources, all of that goes out the window, and you become very reactive. So it is really,  really important that we remember how to breathe and to remember that I’m not teaching you anything you don’t know. When we are born,  when babies are born, we all breathe diaphragmatically. We all breathe properly. 

But there’s a huge misconception about what diaphragmatic breath is. Most people think diaphragmatic breath is a belly breathing. It is not. You could do this for hours, and it does not work because it doesn’t get you any more oxygen that you need. 

So what diaphragmatic breath is, it’s actually sideways breathing. So what happens is, when you breathe with your diaphragm, which is that muscle that’s shaped like this, it flattens, and it pushes the ribs sideways. So diaphragmatic breath is going to look like this. 

Neither your chest, not your belly moves. When you do this, you get the most oxygen for the least expenditure of energy. 

Now you cognitively rewire, now you have access to all of your resources knowledge, experience, you have better energy, better sleep your digestion comes online,  your reproductive system comes online, and your body starts functioning the way it should and you stop burning a candle on both ends. 

So, effectively, if you master this one skill, you have a command over your nervous system, and a lot of stress associated issues, both in and outside of work, in our families, but also physical issues, just go out the window, you can do this one thing. 

So this is your tip for the day. It doesn’t happen overnight so practice before getting out of bed before going to sleep,  maybe every couple of hours take a 60-second break and check your breath. The objective is to breathe this way 24/7. 

This is going to be an ongoing homework and your stress elimination project and journey is to learn how to breathe this way all the time. 

And if you forget everything I just said, diaphragmatic breath, and a stress mode are on completely different circuits. If you’re stressed you’re not breathing,  if you can breathe properly it’s going to be much harder to push your buttons. It’s as simple as that. 

So that is your homework. Stay tuned for the next installment in our stress elimination, and we’ll see you next time.

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