The Power of Breathwork in Managing Holiday Stress: A Three-Minute Practice

The Power of Breathwork

During this upcoming festive season, many people will be under pressure due to financial difficulties and family responsibilities.

For instance, traveling during the Christmas period can cause anxiety to those involved. This is time for searching for ways of managing stress successfully.

People are not able to meditate every day because of their schedules; in such cases other techniques like breathwork come in handy.

Influence of Breathwork on Stress Management

Carolyn Cowan, a well-known psychotherapist and breathwork teacher, talks about how practicing breathworks gives back the body into the present moment by reducing physiological and emotional responses.

By doing slow, conscious deepening of breaths that indicate safety to the body, tension response reduces, and cortisol levels drop; cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress.

Cowan also provides a brief three-minute breathwork exercise tailor-made for Fit&Well readers that helps in addressing these holiday pressures.

She tells how versatile it is as one can practice it anywhere even in a busy schedule like at a desk, while travelling on public transport or even in the toilet.

Personal Experience: Trying Out the Three-Minute Breathwork Practice

Pre-Breathwork Stretches

For Cowan, beginning with some stretches should always precede a breathwork session since they make it possible for breathing to work better.

These simple exercises entail spreading one’s arms outwards, taking long belly-breaths while opening up the chin and sticking out one’s tongue.

Meanwhile, there is another option where she suggests rotating shoulders right and left for sixty seconds then ending with a strong shoulder-lift-shoulder-drop sequence.

Afterwards, she suggests transitioning into a comfortable sitting position before setting a timer either for three or five minutes as directed by given breathing instructions:

  • Breathe in slowly through pursed lips for 5 seconds pushing your belly out.
  • Hold your breathe for 1 second.
  • Breath out lightly sough your nostril
  • Repeat until the timer goes off
  • Finish up by taking a final breath in, holding it and tightening all muscles before slowly releasing the air.

Key tips and observations

According to Cowan, she insists on inhaling by letting the belly go out as this will increase lung capacity and bring about diaphragmatic breathing.

This activates parasympathetic nervous system which helps to balance out stress response in your body.

In addition, people are advised to take longer inhalations and exhalations that last about 8-10 seconds each provided that it is comfortable.

Moreover, after completing the exercise, Cowan recommends spending two minutes basking in this calmness before returning to normal activities.

She further assures that this breathing technique can be practiced at any time of day if someone feels like their anxiety is escalating.

Personal Observations of Cowan

Increased Calmness: The three-minute break actually made her feel calm amidst her busy schedules.

She claimed that she could tell a difference when she was consciously focusing on her breath as she felt less stressed.

Improved Digestion: Importantly, stress-induced digestive discomfort was alleviated through the exercise.

Her digestive problems were eased by conscious relaxation or diversion of attention using breathwork.

More Mindful: After exercising there was an increased awareness of mindfulness; she said that she felt more grounded with her senses and less prone to distractions hence more focused for work.

In conclusion, the importance of breathwork in managing holiday stress cannot be overstated.

In a nutshell, Cowan has crafted a three-minute impactful breathwork practice that can provide relief from holiday-season pressures for individuals.

People can find solace during this celebration period by incorporating easy yet powerful breathing methods into their daily routines so as they can achieve moments of tranquility and alleviate some of the burdens associated with it.

Including such practices may propose a quieter and more rewarding holiday experience that might introduce pauses of rest and attentiveness among seasonal chores.

With stress being a common occurrence during holiday periods, breath work is accessible and effective in providing relief to people.


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