The Covid19 Pandemic is increasing feelings of anxiety and stress.

Not only does anxiety feel uncomfortable, being stressed reduces the immune system’s ability to fight off disease. What’s more, when anxious, your brain’s ability to reason and solve problems is reduced by as much as 40%.

Have you ever felt really stressed or anxious about something and thought, “I can’t focus, I can’t even think straight” that’s anxiety getting in the way. That’s your brain’s Alarm System, the amygdala, blocking signals to the problem-solving part of your brain, the cerebral cortex.

The Alarm System sends out stress hormones to your entire body, making the nervous system like a car engine revving too high.
So we need to calm our bodies down. How do we do this? Here’s a helpful tool.

The 3 Step Self-Calming Tool

Use this when you’re feeling anxious or stressed out

Step 1-Notice that you’re feeling.

Name It: “I’m really stressed out,” or “I’m freaking out!”

And even better if you can say it out loud to yourself.

And—don’t judge yourself for what you’re feeling. Don’t think to yourself, “a crap, I’m worrying again” or “I shouldn’t be anxious about this.” That will only make you more stressed.

Instead, observe in a non-judging way.

Step 2-Pursed-Lips Breathing

You’re going to do slow deep breathing in through the nose and out through pursed lips. That slow exhale is what helps your nervous system gear down.

1-Inhale—take in a full, deep breath through the nose, filling the lungs deep into the belly,

2-Exhale slowly and completely through pursed lips

Repeat 4 to 6 times.

Step 3 Notice How Your Feeling Now

Take a moment to notice how you feel. What does it feel like in your body?
Allowing yourself to pause for a moment to notice, to feel the sensation of calm.

Like any skill, the more you do it, the better you will be at it.
For it to really be effective, you should practice this for 21 days, even when you’re not stressed.

On average, it takes between 4 to 6 slow exhales to gear down, to slow the nervous system.

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