There’s no escaping it – we’re all overly stressed. Surviving a global pandemic and the rigors of quarantining, the rising costs of everything, racial and social upheaval, political divisiveness, and the foibles of daily living have us all on the hairy edge of a major meltdown.
Recent statistics from the American Institute of Stress indicate that approximately 33% of people report feeling extreme stress, some 77% acknowledge that stress directly affects their physical health, and 73% say stress impacts their mental health. Nearly half of people polled have trouble sleeping thanks to stress.
And for about half of all Americans, levels of stress are getting worse instead of better. The Global Organization for Stress reports that 75% of Americans experienced moderate to high stress levels in the past month. Not surprisingly stress is the No. 1 health concern among high school students and 80% of people feel stressed at work.
As we’ve written in our book, Perfect Breathing: Transform Your Life One Breath at a Time, stress is the body’s response to environmental events that challenge us, frighten us, inhibit us, derail our intentions or generally require us to change behavior. Stress, especially chronic stress, is poison to our system – literally. It affects every system and cell in the human body.
The single best way to ward off the evils of stress is to use breath awareness and employ our simple six-second breathing exercise daily, demonstrated in this link by our own Al Lee. Intentional breathing is an indispensable ally in counteracting the harmful effects of stress.
In a nutshell, intentional breathing reverses nearly everything that chronic stress does to our bodies. Wellness expert Andrew Weil once stated that, “If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly.”
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