Create your optimal wellbeing baseline with the help of this breathing technique

March 27, 2020

Dearest all! I hope this finds you well and in the best shape possible during this strange and uncertain time. Please know that I am here for you if you want to have a complimentary coaching call. I would be so happy to speak and see how best I can serve you. Just leave your email below in a comment and I will be in touch to arrange a time.

As for now I’ve decided to write a series of posts with the intention that they will help you embody a greater sense of solace, maximise your general wellbeing and expand your awareness to all the opportunity there is now to make positive changes. Whilst our lives have been forced to dramatically slow down due to the coronavirus pandemic it’s also presented the chance for us all to assess our thoughts and behaviours, to dig deep and unearth our hopes and dreams and understand what matters most in life. Ask yourself what’s thus far been stopping you from achieving your ultimate dream? And make your dream BIG! If you got everything you could possibly want in the future and MORE! what would that look and feel like? This is a great chance to start to think and act bigger.

Of course our current reality as this pandemic continues is in many respects limiting. It is not easy to be isolated, away from family and friends and for many out of work. We, together as citizens of the world are facing a huge challenge. Health workers especially are battling impossible times in hospitals and my heart goes out to them all along with those who are ill.

Yet simultaneously many of us are lucky enough to have our health intact, our finances relatively secure, (I hope the government grants can keep things afloat for those who are struggling) and the only instruction we have to follow is simply “stay safe, stay home”.  I’ve heard so many people confess that this time has shown them that their “normal life” is far too fast. Just today I was talking to my sister and she said that she and her husband are so grateful (whilst obviously it’s not in preferred circumstances) to have more time together and they are both happier for it. For all of us this coronavirus pandemic has refocused priorities and reminded us of what is really important. For me it’s health, loved ones, quality time with each other and simple pleasures. It’s also important to me to help people where I can and leave a positive imprint wherever I can.

If we are fortunate enough to be at home, healthy and safe we can choose to sink or swim. I want as many of you as possible to tap into your inner resources and swim strong. So, to kick my Mexican wave of optimal mind and body posts off I’m going to share what I find to be the most effective way in setting myself up with the best wellbeing baseline and an exercise that helps me get there. Make sure you also think about any limiting behaviours, beliefs and actions that are blocking you from living your ultimate life right now. It’s a very good time to optimise mind, body, spirit and soul.

Name your emotions

Personally, I feel like I’ve experienced a whole host of different emotions since the corona virus struck; uncertainty, anxiety, fear for the health of those vulnerable, for health workers, for those out of jobs, resistance to face some of the fears I have, regret, hope, opportunity, unity, gratitude;

  • for my health and the health of my loved ones,
  • for having a roof over my head and the ability to buy food,
  • for the amazing health workers
  • for spring
  • for sunshine
  • for technology allowing us to FaceTime, join webinars, continue working and stay in touch

Now, I am feeling steady, mostly self-assured and optimistic and I still want to take time each day to acknowledge and tune into my feelings. It’s amazing how the subconscious can keep you from fully acknowledging your true state of mind. In the few days when the virus really started to explode in London I did the below exercise and it brought up a lot of feelings that I’d have otherwise been largely unaware of. I welcomed the release of trapped emotions and made a point to be kinder to myself and more considerate and empathetic to others. I also made sure I was doing enough of the self-care practises that make my day better and made a point of improving a few things. A few examples here; I made more fresh nourishing food, FaceTime loved ones, prioritised sleep, getting outside every day in nature and breath work.

Why it’s important to acknowledge your emotions

Counselling psychologist Dr Maria Kovanen describes emotions as “your body’s way of communicating with you about what is going on, for example, if you have been let down, you may experience anger, fear, and/or sadness.” She explains that “what matters is how you react to your feelings and acknowledge them as they arise.” Kovanen highlights the importance of knowing  which part of your body gets activated with a particular emotion since the more connected you are with yourself the easier it is to deal with life’s challenges. Put simply, understanding why something impacts you in a particular way allows you to take steps to self-soothe and choose the best most prosperous path forwards rather than staying stuck in a negative and somewhat toxic environment.

Let’s say you are stuck in a particular feeling like anxiety. Staying in this state can be harmful to your well-being in the long run and it can have a negative impact on your physical health. Becoming aware of your feelings and approaching them with love and kindness can help you to reduce your anxiety. What is your anxiety trying to tell you? How is it keeping you safe? How is it blocking you from being and feeling your best? What can you appreciate about it? What situations can you control to reduce your anxiety and which situations do you just need to let go of and accept your lack of control? Can you be more present? Focus on what is here now and be grateful.

Tune in to your feelings via this breathing exercise 

Just before I get to this exercise I wanted to tell you about the below CBD products from fourfivecbd since I feel they benefit me a lot when it comes to optimising my baseline wellbeing. 

I use the below CBD products by fourfivecbd to help me breathe deeper and increase my sense of wellbeing. Before doing my breath- work I rub the muscle rub onto my temples and my chest. The menthol in it is particularly soothing and helps open up my airways so I can get the maximum amount of oxygen into my lungs with each inhalation. Another benefit of using these CBD products is that there is some controlled-trial evidence which suggests CBD could be effective at dosages of around 300mg in one go. The spray pictured below comes in a 1000mg bottle and you take two sprays up to three times a day. CBD has also showed promising results with pain reduction (I like to use the thermal joint gel both before and after my runs) and CBD studies have shown CBD to be effective at improving sleep.

My favourite place to do breath-work is in nature whilst listening to music

The breathing exercise

I’d like to invite you to take 10 minutes each day and sit with one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Breathe deeply and feel your belly expand and turn in with each breath in and out. This is called diaphragm breathing and it has a host of benefits including; aiding relaxation by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, lowers blood pressure and heart-rate, helps you to recover from exercise and perform better.

Play some soothing music and light a candle if you want to add more intensity to your environment. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four then hold for four before exhaling through your nose for eight seconds. Hold here for four and repeat the sequence ten times. (So it’s 4, 4, 8, 4.) As you do this keep your awareness on your body and on any emotions that come up. After you have repeated the sequence ten times take five minutes to breathe freely ensuring you’re breathing deep into your belly. As you do this scan your body. Start with your feet and move up through your body turning your attention to your legs, thighs, hips, stomach, chest, arms and head. Now begin another breath sequence. This time in for five, hold for five, out for ten, hold for five and repeat ten times. (So it’s 5, 5, 10, 5).

Now, get a notepad and write down any emotions, feelings and thoughts you had during this exercise. Take time to reflect on each one. Accept and approve them. Where would you like to go from here in order to generate the most loving and beneficial way forward? Choose to set some goals. For example, if you’ve been feeling anxious choose to breathe more deeply, focus on the present moment, what you can control (and optimise these things) and letting go of what you can’t, practice gratitude and self-care.

As I’ve said this exercise helps me enormously. I feel tuned into my thoughts and emotions and I am more conscious about creating a more optimised reality for myself as a result. My body and mind are nourished first thing in the morning and last thing at night when I do the exercise. I hope you love it and please leave your email address or email me: [email protected] to arrange your free coaching call.

I’m here for you all. Keep looking after yourselves. XX

*Big thank you to fourfivecbd who kindly sponsored this post. 

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