We’ve discussed BURN OUT, we’ve discussed 7 WAYS TO REST. And we stick by all of this… What can we do though when we are working flat out? What can we do to give ourselves a worthwhile rest in either the evening or 20 minutes at work when we are so stressed? We are going at 100mph and actually have forgotten how to be still, and calm during our day; we’ve even forgotten how to activate our relaxation response. Dead serious – there is actual neuroscience behind this and a super amazing breathing technique that’s tried and tested. 

Let’s take this powerful idea: just as we have a stress response, we have a relaxation response. We can learn to trigger this response and facilitate the human mind to bring forth the emotions that open us to the positive influences in life. We’re wired to react in a manner that probably won’t help. We are capable of learning alternate responses. This, perhaps, is the reason emotional intelligence is so important today: increasing complexity puts social and emotional skills at a premium.

That’s probably why leaders with more emotional intelligence skills create stronger business value. Salespeople trained in these skills outsell others (in one study, 40% better). 

Also, here is a simple breathing exercise: anulom vilom pranayam, or alternate nostril breathing. It is an ancient yogic technique that starts the relaxation response by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. 

Performing anulom vilom is similar to box breathing with the added element of switching nostrils. Switching the nostrils provides a point of focus to calm the mind.

  • Sit in a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Fold the middle three fingers of your right hand so that only the thumb and pinky are pointed outwards.
  • Place the thumb of your right hand on your right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril for a count of four. Hold the breath for four.
  • Release the right nostril and cover the left with the pinky. Inhale through the right nostril for a count of four. Hold for four.
  • Close the right nostril, open the left, and exhale.
  • Repeat, alternating open and closed nostrils.

Alternate nostril breathing doesn’t just trigger our relaxation response, it also sets clear foundations for a more resilient and energetic day. 💛

Want to learn more in activating this side of your brain, take a listen to this Ted Talk here.

By Sophia Collins