Stress management 'How a quick and simple exercise saved me from being driven to destruction by road rage
Everything happened so quickly, a huge object swept past my peripheral vision. Next I heard the sound of ripping metal.
'What the...' I was shouting at the top of my voice, as the realization dawned on me and I banged on the steering wheel in anger.
I regained my composure and saw that the car had slowed down and has stopped at the side of the road.
I got out and very well know that I could explode and things would turn ugly.
You see, I was involved in an auto incident 5 years ago, and I emerged with a baseball bat to confront the owner of the other car, luckily he sped off before I had the time to do some damage.
This time, I told myself that I had to cool down. Instantly, I began doing the special breathing exercise that I had learnt.
When the other driver got off and I was walking towards her, I knew that everything would be under control. I could feel my anger disappearing and my heartbeat returning to normal.
You see, I had been practicing various methods of stress management, and felt that the quality of my life does seem to improve and I seem to have most things under control. But this incident is the ultimate litmus test. It would be the event that lends testimony to the effectiveness of my years of practice.
I'm glad to say that everything went fine and we managed to end our exchange in a civilized manner.
So what have I been practicing that has such a profound effect on controlling stress?
I have studied and practiced numerous methods and areas including: Progressive muscle relaxation, Aromatherapy oil, Power of positive thinking, Positive affirmation, Creative visualization, Meditation technique, Breathing exercise, Relaxation exercise and Relaxation music. I have also explored the concept of brain wave and its relation to stress including: Alpha brain wave, Binaural beat, Silva Mind Control and Stress Hypnosis.
However, I'm going to talk about the 'special breathing' method that had enabled me to keep my cool in almost an instant. You could also use this method to help you in times when you need to keep the pressure down, and in a hurry!
Learning to breathe properly is actually essential for stress control, as it aids in relaxing your body and mind. In fact, specific breathing methods are employed together with meditation to bring about a relaxed state of mind.
Try this exercise NOW.
Take a deep breath now.
Watch where the air goes.
See your chest expanding as you inhale and compressing during your exhale?
Let me tell you something.
You are breathing INCORRECTLY!
You must be thinking, 'What's wrong? Don't everyone breathe this way?'
Yes, most people breathe that way, and they are all wrong.
Now, why do we breathe this way?
Look at how a baby or animal breathes. You will notice that instead of the chest expanding, their stomach expands.
This is Abdominal breathing and it is the proper way to breathe, it is not taught, but naturally and instinctively observed by babies and animals.
We all used to breathe like that when we were young, but then we grew up, go through life experiencing stress, anxiety, fear, anger and tension. When that happens, our breathing quickens. To enable us to breath faster, our body learns to stop our breath at the chest level. Very soon we will automatically breathe to the chest without realizing this change in habit.
To learn abdominal breathing, begin by noticing your normal breathing, which should be quick and shallow.
Consciously slow down your breath and begin to breathe down, expanding your lower abdomen.
Then slowly exhale and consciously pull in your abdominal while forcing out all the air.
Do this for a minute or two each time, and do several sessions throughout the day.
Do this diligently, and in no time, your body will take over and you will eventually be doing abdominal breathing without realizing it.
You will begin to find that you are calmer, not easily ruffled and also have a lot more energy to see yourself through the day.
After you are sufficiently proficient in abdominal breathing, you would have built a solid base to reap the benefits of Meditation.
I'll talk to you soon.
About the Author
James Tan has dedicated his life to exploring the human mind's potential in stress management areas after suffering a fatal auto accident, which has been the turning point of his life.