Face it, everyone experiences some sort of stress in their work day. Whether it’s an issue with an employee, your supplier shorted your order, a customer riled you up, or you simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed, sometimes you’re going to have a bad day. But when your bad mood spreads like wild fire across your business, it’s time to take a step back and breathe. Using quick and easy breathing techniques can change your mood and get your business back to its happy place.
Why Breathing Techniques Work
When you become stressed, you automatically begin a process of shallow breathing. And, since this is the norm most days, you don’t really consider the affects it has on your overall health. You’re accustomed to feeling on edge. You think your headaches are just from lack of sleep or dehydration. You tell yourself this is what all business owners go through.
You need to slow down and evaluate your life. Breathing deeply sends a signal to your brain telling your body to take a break. It gives your blood cells the ability to fill with more oxygen. In turn, you’re able to slow our heartrate and calm your nerves.
When using deep breathing techniques, you reduce the major health risks associated with stress.
According to Harvard Medical School, the risk factors associated with continued stress include:
- High blood pressure
- This leads to heart failure and stroke
- Compromised immune system
- This increases the risk of colds, flu, and other illness
While stress is a daily factor for most business owners, it shouldn’t be the reason you end up in the hospital.
Finding a way to reduce minor triggers can be a major win for you and your business.
This is a classic breathing technique. In fact, once you’ve mastered belly breathing, all other breathing exercises will become easier. As with all these exercises, try to find a dark, quiet room to calm your active mind.
Beginners guide to belly breathing at work:
- Sit comfortably in a chair
- Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest
- Take a deep breath through your nose and let your belly push your hand up
- Your chest should not move
- Breathe out through pursed lips (like a whistle) and feel the hand on your belly go down
- Use it to push all the air out
- Repeat as necessary
Belly breathing works in multiple ways. The oxygen flowing into your lungs sends a message to your brain to slow down. This in turn sends a message to all your muscles, including your heart, to slow down as well.
Taking time to consider where your hands are, provides an alternative area of focus. This allows the opportunity to forget the menacing details that caused your stress to begin with.
For more on belly breathing techniques, visit the University of Michigan’s Health Library.
Smile Breathing Technique
Amy Weintraub over at Lifeforce Yoga has a wonderful breathing technique called Smile Breath. Smile breathing is a simple, five second way to lift your mood and reduce stress. All you need is a place to sit and a quiet room. Turn off the lights and follow these instructions:
- Take a deep breath- inhale through your nose
- Hold the breath for two heartbeats
- Drop your chin to your chest as you slowly exhale
- Hold the exhale for two heartbeats as you lift the corners of your mouth
- Inhale as you lift your head
- Repeat as necessary
This breathing technique should help you relax as you push out the bad vibes. And, believe it or not, smiling does actually lift your mood.
5 Second Rule
Mel Robbins has a great theory on tackling anxiety. Her five second rule is an amazing tool to use no matter what situation you find yourself in. On days when you’re feeling that big green monster coming out, give this a try:
- Go to a quiet room–you can do this anywhere but a quiet room works best
- Close your eyes and breathe
- Let your mind drift to an idea that brings you joy
- It can be a made up thought or a real memory but it has to be joyful
- Inhale deeply and count backward from five
- Stay in that happy place until you feel your heartrate slow
- Slowly open your eyes and push out the bad air
- Repeat as necessary
Unfortunately, stress goes hand and hand with running a business. And, no matter what you do to physically relax, sometimes it’s just not enough.
That’s where deep focus comes in.
In deep focusing sessions guided by a professional partner, you’re able to tap in to the deepest part of your psyche. As your partner guides you into meditation, you’ll find yourself in a deep center of focus. You’ll communicate what enters your mind as it comes. This can determine what triggers your stress, what guides you, or what you feel is holding you back.
With this realization, you can work toward a specific goal that deep down you really want.
Deep focusing sessions require more time and attention than the three above breathing techniques. It should be done away from work and in an uninterrupted environment. These sessions do require more time than quick breathing techniques, however, the benefits can have a lifetime of effectiveness.
Breathe your stress away
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of the day. And, it’s easy to lash out when you’re overwhelmed with work, home, and life issues. But, trying any of these breathing techniques to calm you down will benefit you and everyone around you.
By taking a few minutes every hour to practice a breathing technique, you’ll become more relaxed. You’ll feel lighter. Your chest will expand. You’ll feel a huge weight lifted from your entire body.
You’ll learn to react to a problem rather than an emotion. This means you’ll be able to make better decisions for your business rather than impulsive choices that will cost you more in the long run.
Chances are, your staff will become better for it as well. You’ll become more approachable to them. They’ll consider you a respectable leader who sees the bigger picture. One that has their interests at heart. Most importantly, you’ll be the owner they WANT to work for.
With the benefits these controlled breathing techniques add to your life, the only thing left to do is act.
Which breathing technique will you use?
Sometimes talking with another business owner can calm you down and get you back on track.
I’m here to help.
“It’s my pleasure to help small businesses connect with customers; one word at a time” – Melissa Folette