Stress and anxiety are natural reactions to living. Read that again! Our body is wired to protect us and keep us safe. When we anticipate real or perceived threats to our safety- emotional, mental or physical- we call on our fight, flight, or freeze responses. This is common and natural, and a pertinent function of our brain. You are not alone if you are experiencing stress or anxiety.
Did you know one in five women experience anxiety during the perinatal period along with one in ten expectant fathers?
Pregnancy can absolutely accelerate the release of stress hormones. An increase in stress and anxiety, with the additional pregnancy hormones we have at play, can bring on physical pains and issues too. Exercise, hydration, and rest are three tools we usually call on; but let me offer something you can do while driving, sitting on the couch, or at work. Really, anywhere!
Conscious breathing – Giving awareness to how we breath will:
- release ample oxygen flow to rebalance our central nervous system,
- return your mental state to the present moment if your mind has been hijacked into perceived or real trauma,
- bring your heart rate down,
- relax your body- especially places like your shoulders, lower back, and hips where tension builds!
Wherever you are on your journey, know that your breath supports all of your body’s important functions. Give it attention and practice to help release stress, calm anxiety, and enjoy the moment at hand.
4-count Breathing – This breathing exercise is hundreds of years old and a favorite in meditation.
- Inhale through your nose for four counts.
- Pause for four counts, if expecting, pause for just a second.
- Exhale through your mouth for four counts.
- Repeat while closing eyes or focusing on the same focal point.
With your mind focusing on counting the duration of the inhales and exhales, you are drastically drawn to the present moment and thoughts and distractions have no room to take space.
Blossom Breathing – This breathing exercise is taught in our “Your Best Birth” course as I love the mind+body connection it provides for calming your central nervous system, but also as it builds awareness to your pelvic floor.
- Place one hand on your chest and one hand below your belly button, cradling your bump if present.
- Close your eyes and inhale through your nose allowing the abdomen to expand, and pelvic floor to open and drop.
- Exhale deeply while tissues come back to where they started.
Mindful Breathing – You will breath by focusing attention on a visualization such as a balloon filling with air and emptying or a wave growing in height as it approaches the shore and then folding over to the shore.
- Finding a comfortable seat, close your eyes and draw in a visual of something that takes two opposing forms.
- Inhale deeply through your nose and picture something opening, like a hot air balloon being filled.
- Exhale through your nose and visualize that same object releasing or decreasing in size.
- Repeat and allow your visualization to distract negative thoughts and release them away.
Remember, breathing is an accessible tool if you are experiencing stress and anxiety pre and post birth.
For more on connecting to your conscious breath to relieve you anxiety book an appointment at our Tempe, Phoenix, or Mesa locations.
You can book an appointment here: Breathe Better Now