How to reduce Stress with Somatic BreathingHeidi Hadley
Stress and anxiety are two very common issues people have to contend with nowadays. In today’s blog we are going to consider the physiological benefits of somatic deep breathing.
We know personally that when we feel overwhelmed or nervous, taking a few deep measured breaths will help us to feel calm and relaxed. Somatic deep breathing however has been shown to improve the health of your heart, brain, reproductive, immune and digestive system. The exciting field of epigenetics is also revealing the importance of regular somatic deep breathing to improve overall health and well being.
Why does the heart, digestive, reproductive and immune system, just to name a few react badly to stress? Both our mind and body are amazing. We have a stress response action to help us stay safe and flee or fight danger. When we are stressed, our heart rate increases. When we continue to live in a stress response mode for prolonged periods of time, it creates cardiac issues from excessive wear and tear on the heart muscle. This in turn creates a rise in blood pressure and further strain on our heart. When we are stressed, blood is diverted away from our gut and reproductive system to our limbs. The physiological response identifies that in a stressful event we are wanting to fight or flee, not sit down to eat or have sex. As a result of this, long term stress causes issues with the digestive system, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Colitis, anxiety and depression. The brain-gut connection is powerful and whatever is happening within the bowel has a direct correlation with one’s mood.
Check out my blog entitled “Increasing our somatic awareness to the brain and gut connection.”
The other area I have highlighted is the reproductive system. When a person is stressed, unable to switch off, serious or intense, they may suffer with impotency due to the stress response reducing the amount of blood, sensation and hormonal involvement to the actions, thoughts and intentions of sex.
Further physiological actions of the stress response also creates a constriction of the pupils, allow the person to focus intently on their ‘attacker.’ The bronchi which are part of the lungs dilate to increase the level of oxygen in to the bloodstream. Plus In order to maintain stamina during a stressful situation, energy stored within the liver is converted into fuel for stamina and strength.
In previous blogs and on my Total Somatics You Tube Channel I have explained the role of the Hypothalamus. Check out my 4 minute video entitled ‘Somatics and Mindset.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdELuA2m63I
Once again the hypothalamus has a crucial role when you are stressed. The hormone CRH or Corticotrophin- Releasing Hormone is secreted by the hypothalamus in response to stress. When you are stressed, your tissues are bathed and smothered in hormones and nerves chemicals created from the stress response. When stress becomes an ongoing issue, these irritants ‘hang around’ for longer than they should and start to impact on the immune system. Your adrenal glands release cortisol when you are undergoing stress. Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone. When you are stressed, your body is trying to create homeostasis or a state of balance by ‘self prescribing’ anti-inflammatory shots. This results in the actions of your immune system reducing dramatically, making you more susceptible to illness and disease.
Somatic deep breathing will slow down your central nervous system and switch the action to the ‘rest and digest’ mode. Dr Esther Sternberg (a Professor of Medicine In Arizona) is an author of several books on stress and healing, and a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health. She states the following scientific and physiological actions when we induce the ‘rest and digest’ mode:
“The relaxation response is controlled by another set of nerves, the main nerve being the Vagus nerve. Think of a car throttling down the highway at 120 miles an hour. That’s the stress response, and the Vagus nerve is the brake. When you are stressed, you have your foot on the gas, with the pedal to the floor. When you take slow, deep breaths, that is when we engage the brake.”
Do you feel like you are running in a figurative hamster’s wheel? Do you feel anxious and overwhelmed? Do you feel stressed? Would you like to know how to develop somatic deep breathing? Would you like to develop skills which will help you deal with a challenging situation?
I have provided a FREE Mindful Somatic Deep Breathing Meditation audio for you. It last 10 minutes and has binaural music which helps to slow down your brain waves and allow your central nervous system to recharge and recuperate.
Total Somatics uses the word Meditation in the context of being deliberately focused on bringing a sense of calm to your mind and body. The word Mindfulness is used to help us identify and notice the sensory feedback we feel from actions such as somatic movement and deep breathing.
The Total Somatics Approach to Health & Wellness Program (www.TotalSomatics.com) develops the areas of somatic movement, mindset, mindfulness and other lifestyle factors with the 24 week Online program, self pace and in the comfort of your own home.
To learn more go to www.TotalSomatics.com and allow me to teach you these life skills to reduce pain, improve posture, increase mobility and enhance your quality of life.
Heidi Hadley xx
Enjoy the 10 minute audio and start allowing yourself to truly relax and take time out FOR YOU