Breathing. It's one of those important things we do in life. (Does it get any more important? If you can think of anything, let me know.)
Unfortunately, many of us go through life breathing rapidly, stopping when we get stressed, and laboring in other ways to huff and puff. If only there was a way to stop and breathe in a more intentional way. It could be a lifesaver.
Science has a lot to say about this topic. A recent study from September says we all have a built-in stress reliever. You can stop and breathe in and out, holding each time, as a way to find relief. It could change your entire day.
I tried this at a session led by Philips Lighting before CES 2017 started. This annual trade show is a bit like a circus with more lighting and rock music blaring.
The session was amazing. I'm not into traditional meditation, but the stretches we did as a group and breathing were amazingly helpful in giving me a sense of place, a rest before the chaos, and a quick respite.
Brett Larkin is an expert on this topic. She led the session and explained how to breathe. You start by doing stretches. Hold your fingers locked together facing in. Raise them above your head and then stretch. Slowly turn your hands outward and move them back down again. Repeat this a few times, breathing in slowly each time and out.
You can do this anywhere, even at CES. Another exercise she led involved breathing in and counting to three, holding, then releasing for three seconds and holding again. According to science, this does a few things in your body. It relaxes muscles, it improves your metabolism, your heart beats slower, your blood pressure goes down. It worked for me.
I have a few issues with blood pressure, actually. It's not serious. Whenever I go to the doctor, I suffer from lab coat syndrome. It's exactly what you think it is. When I go, my blood pressure is always too high. They check it again and it's fine. I'm slightly stressed about the visit.
At CES, this gets into dangerous territory. Excited breathing is bad for your health and makes you lose focus. For me, breathing this way throughout the day, doing the stretches (and other tips Brett mention at her YouTube channel), really helps because you are teaching your body, through science, how to relax. At a tradeshow, there's no time for anything else.
During our session, we used the Philips Hue White Ambiance light system, which can be adjusted for the mood. Soft light when you sit quietly, brighter lights in red to get you going again. I really like how this all works together, because light has a big impact on our thoughts and actions. Bright harsh lighting makes us anxious, soft lights make us tired. Using an app, you can adjust the lighting to suit your current mood, change colors, and adjust an entire room.
The starter kit costs $129 and you can add multiple bulbs in an office or at home. I've tested the kits and they work perfectly. You can even control them with Google Home by voice.
Will you try the breathing exercises? I want to know if the stretch and breathing work if you are at CES or another conference. Or even if you are sitting at your desk.