Take a moment to come up for air ...

Breathing - a built-in, instant, natural de-stressor

Breathing - a built-in, instant, natural de-stressor

Often we have too much going on and that takes its toll, leaving us feeling pressurised and prone to making silly mistakes.  By taking a moment to join forces with our breath, we can effect a beneficial change in our state that helps us to manage better.  Try this:

Hold out your hand in front of you.  Now with the index finger of your other hand, slowly trace its shape by running the finger up and down the sides of the other five fingers.  As your finger runs up the fingers, breathe in; as your finger runs down, breathe out.  

Alternatively, you might like to close your eyes, and with a nice full and rhythmical breathing pattern, say this to yourself:

"Inhale Calm - Exhale Tension

Inhale Positivity - Exhale Fear

Inhale Confidence - Exhale Doubt

Inhale Contentment - And Smile"

Remember to check your breathing technique!  Your lungs are like bags that go from the diaphragm up to the collar bones.  When you inhale your tummy should fill up and move out, then move back towards your spine as you exhale.  Sometimes tension causes us to get this the wrong way around:  the air coming in expands the upper part of the chest, the shoulders rise and the tummy comes in.  If this is happening, give your body a shake, place one hand on your tummy and the other on a collar bone to act as monitors, and try again!  A mirror can be useful too.