Stress at work: Be Mindful of how you breathe

We have all faced days of being so stressed out that we don’t have any idea what to do next. There are days where we all want shove our head in that box of donuts that some well-intentioned co-worker brought into work and came out with our face covered in chocolate frosting and rainbow colored sprinkles. Believe me when I tell you I have been there. The key is not allowing yourself to get to that point.
The question becomes how do we manage stress levels with all the challenges we face today? In today’s world, we are all inundated with emails, instant messages, phone calls, the boss tapping us on the shoulder and the co-worker wanting to know what we thought of the big game or the latest winner of “Dancing with the Stars.”
Just Breathe…
A quick and easy way to alleviate some of that stress is to avoid that box of donuts and breathe. Start with being aware of how you are breathing. If you are taking short breaths then start making deep ones. I know this may sound silly, but its a known fact that breathing deeply is a quick and easy way to lower stress. Breathing deeply sends messages to your brain to calm down and relax. All the bad things that occur due to stress such as breathing intensely, rapid heart rate and high blood pressure all drop as you breathe deeply.
An easy way to breathe deeply is to sit in a chair and put one of your hands over your stomach and watch your hand rise and fall as you breathe in and out. The key is breathing deep enough to allow your abdomen to rise and fall. Being mindful of your breathing will automatically force you to take in deep breaths. The next time your boss tells you to take a break from an intense team meeting, you should just take a moment and just breathe in and out.

Dr. Shah, M.D.