Have you ever been stressed out at work, and your friend told you to take a deep breath and relax? Although your friend had your best intentions at heart, they just gave you the worst advice for calming down during stressful moments.
The breath is a fantastic tool for changing your sense of calmness or alertness in the moment, but taking a deep breath is a bad idea!
Before I tell you why taking a deep breath is a bad idea, let’s examine what happens when you breathe.
When you breathe in, a muscle called the diaphragm moves down to make more room for oxygen in your lungs. As a result, there is more space in your heart for blood to flow, so blood flows slower through the heart. A group of neurons on your heart relay a message to your brain about the slowdown, and your brain sends a signal back to speed up your heart rate.
Conversely, when you breathe out, your diaphragm moves up. There is less space for your heart in the thoracic cavity, and so blood flows faster through it. The neurons on your heart send a signal to your brain about the increased blood flow rate, and your brain sends a signal back to slow down your heart rate.
Now that you understand the mechanism behind how breathing impacts your heart rate, you can see how taking a long deep inhale increases your heart rate and makes you more alert.
This is not what you want when you need to calm down.
So make sure to use the method described below to drive recovery, and decrease stress.
Make sure you are sitting down, and you have a quiet place to relax and focus on your breathing. Here are some examples:You can also use this principle for cadenced breathing over a short to moderate amount of time (1-10 minutes).Examples
Now that you are equipped with a science-backed tool for regulating stress, give it a try and share this with a colleague who needs to breathe out their stress!
Not sure if this is the right Playbook for your team? With LEON, our algorithm recommends exactly the right Playbook, at the right time, to the right team, to be more effective and drive well-being and performance.
These Playbooks range from adjusting workload and schedules, to exercises for improving team grit and alignment, and everything in between.
No matter how your team is scoring, we’ll provide data-driven recommendations to support their most pressing needs.