An awful lot of people spend most of their waking hours tense and on edge and not even realize it.
It’s even be said that stress doesn’t end when we fall asleep… our minds race and our body’s never truly relax… which can cause all types of problems, such as incomplete sleep, restlessness or even no sleep at all.
I know that stress was one of the contributing factors to many of the health problems I was experiencing just a few years ago.
I was always tense… both mentally and physically.
Even worse… I practiced weight lifting as a form of exercise… without any focus on stretching or breathing techniques.
I had the wrong goals…
I was trying to add more and more weight to my lifts so I could get stronger… but really… I just added more dangerous stress to my body.
And for what?
Just so I could lie on my back and push another 20 pounds in the air?
This can lead anyone in becoming a walking ‘time bomb’… and that’s exactly what poor breathing and heavy strain did to me.
But with everything we have going on in our lives… how can we easily de-stress?
As luck would have it… I stumbled onto that answer by accident.
One day while working the second shift… my patrol partner somehow talked me into trying jiu jitsu.
Which turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Jiu jitsu is called the “gentle way”… and I quickly learned why.
Sure you learn how to protect yourself… but there’s a lot more to it than just fighting.
But in the beginning I attacked it just like I did everything else… and carried over some of the bad habits I picked up in weightlifting with me.
During training one day, my instructor stopped a red-faced, grunting and perspiring Doc in the middle of a grueling grappling session
And he told me something I’ve taken to heart not just in my jiu jitsu, but to the rest of my life as well…
He said, “Doc…relax, take it easy, relax, you don’t have to hold your breath.”
It was like a steel trap sprung in my mind…
I needed to breathe in order to relax.
When you breathe correctly and deeply… you open your mind and body and release stress from your body.
By breathing this way… more oxygen is taken in and more CO2 is released with each breath… expelling toxins and debris that would otherwise be harmful to both our respiratory and circulatory systems.
By breathing correctly… our diaphragm kneads and detoxifies our inner organs…helping to improve circulation and promote a healthy immune system.
But you don’t have to take my word for it…
In a study conducted with cardiac patients at the University of Pavia in Lombardy, Italy …there’s a more important reason for better breathing methods…
In this study…patients who learned to slow down their breathing through deep breathing exercises ended up with higher levels of oxygen in their blood… and were able to perform better on exercise tests.
Oxygen is the most important element to the human body… it’s how and why our blood pumps, our lungs fill, and our brains function.
And breathing correctly is the key…
Through the years… I’ve been able to carry the lessons I learned from my jiu jitsu training into many different incidents on the job and in life… emerging on the other side at ease.
Last year when I did my first triathlon… I remember looking out across that lake… and at first glance I tensed up.
But then I heard my instructor’s voice in my head, “Doc relax, breathe… relax.”
And I did just that… I counted to 10… breathing deeply while I did so and relaxed my body and mind.
And off I went!
So any time you come into a situation where you feel highly stressed, or you can’t sleep, or your body just seems exhausted.
Just step back, close your eyes. Count to 10 and with each count take a deep breath in then out.
By the time you’re done counting… I guarantee you’ll feel better and more relaxed.
Never say “I’m too old” or “I can’t”… because you’re not and you can.