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Inhale (inhale), Exhale. Welcome to "Notes from Friends"

Updated: Jun 18, 2021



How good are you at taking your own advice? I am terrible at it!

I’m told I am really good at giving advice, not sure why it is so difficult to listen to your own. On this blog I would like to share with you some words of advice, phrases (like the ones on the scarf labels) quotes, stories, facts, exercises and activities, from a range of people that I am lucky enough to have in my collection of friends. Things to add to your mental survival kit for when you need it, because more often than not, it is easier to take someone else’s advice rather than your own.


I thought it fitting that the first Note came from me. Through the idea behind Barlow scarves, I am hoping that I can introduce more people to the feelings of comfort and support that I get from wearing a scarf. But this is not what my first post is about, I want to talk about the breath.


Breathing is so natural that we don’t even need to think about doing it and it happens. But when you do give the breath your attention it can become an amazing tool for calming yourself down. One of the Barlow scarves features the words “Inhale, Exhale” with the intention that when you look down and notice the message, you will be encouraged to become aware of your breathing and intentionally slow it down and make it deeper. A sigh of relief.


If any of you are familiar with yoga, you will know that different types of breathing can affect the body in different ways and the technique I would like to share here came from my yoga teacher Dave of Twisted Spire Yoga, a few weeks ago. He had come across Dr Andrew Huberman, a Neuroscientist from Stanford University. Dr Huberman says one of the best ways to calm yourself is by doing something that we do naturally throughout the day and night but usually without noticing it – inhale twice and then exhale.


Take a full, deep breath in through your nose, and at the top of the breath take in second smaller breath, then exhale through your mouth.

So why does this work?


“It immediately balances the ratio of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the lungs and bloodstream properly, and it triggers activation of the sighing neurons, which have a direct and fast route to what we’re calling the calming circuit (the parasympathetic arm of the autonomic nervous system).” – Dr Huberman.


And good news, he also says that you only need to do this 3 times to find yourself restored to a baseline feeling of calm.


I can’t tell you how useful I have found this since learning it. At times during the day, taking a moment to really give your focus to your breath. I find it also helps me when I wake up in the night. Sometimes waking up suddenly can cause feelings of panic and in a tired state you are less able to deal with the feelings of anxiety that arise. I find the combination of counting the inhales as well as the physical feeling of calm it gives you helps to get me back off to sleep. There is so much comfort in the knowledge that by doing this, you are actually changing what is going on in your body on a physical level to help restore calm and gives you a feeling of not only being back in control, but reminding you that you always were.


More Notes from Friends soon.


Rachel x


 

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