When I'm stressed I'm not thinking straight, my heart races, my breathing is fast and my whole body feels tense.
I would reach for a block of chocolate, attack someone in anger or use alcohol to relieve my stress. This seemed to work until it started to cause problems with my health and my relationships.
I came across this article by one of my favourite blogs Zen Habits.He talks about the power of focusing on your breath, I found it hard to believe something so simple could work. I gave it a try. I had a fight with my partner, I filled up with anger and before I called him every swear word under the sun or before I reached for the block of chocolate, I stopped and noticed my breathing. It was short and quick. I took a deep breath and then a few more. I started to feel calm again.
I was amazed at the power of something so simple. Fights with my partner wouldn't escalate, I could use my breath to calm down without needing the chocolate or alcohol. I use it constantly, rushing in my car, in the middle of my kids tantrum, being criticized by someone. I'm so thankful to have come across this. My health and relationships are better than ever because of it.
Give it a try. When you feel your stress rising and your body becoming tense, take a deep breath and focus on it as long as possible. It's ok if you forget sometimes, keep trying. With practice it will get easier to remember. Your breath is there for you when ever & where ever. Take advantage of it and use it as often as possible.