"Breathing is important in the practice of meditation because it is a faculty in us that is simultaneously voluntary and involuntary. You can feel that you are breathing, and equally, you can feel that it is breathing you. So it is a sort of bridge between the voluntary world and the involuntary world - a place where they are one.” - Alan Watts

So what can we do when we feel feelings of stress or anxiety rise?

Just breathe…

Breathing techniques go hand-in-hand with mindfulness through

meditation. If you have tried meditation before but haven't quite figured it out, I will be teaching some fast-track ways to clear the clutter in your mind. This will help you quickly zone back in to what matters most - You.

You are number 1. Your health and well-being must always be prioritised above everything else because you simply cannot pour out of an empty cup. It's necessary to learnt to quiet the mind, so that you can focus on your inner-self and feelings. This is the only way that you can start to rationally figure out what is causing the stress or upset. This is an extremely important practice but just not enough people dedicate enough time to this, despite how important it is. We live in our minds, so must make it a happy home to be in.

Meditation teaches you how to get away from the noise of the world and see what you are

grateful for. It teaches you to look at the moment in a non-judgemental way so that you can have a calmer, more rational view on it.

The first thing to do is to recognise what is causing the stress. Therefore, above everything, we must figure out how to stop and find the hush our thoughts in any stressful situation to figure out exactly what is going on inside.

Meditation and mindfulness start from the simple act of focusing on the breath. As I mentioned earlier, breathing is special in several respects. It is the only function you can perform consciously as well as unconsciously.

Breathing is controlled by two sets of nerves, one belonging to the voluntary nervous system, the other to the involuntary, in everyday life. Notice that right now you’re breathing and you’re not even thinking about it. However, when you stop and you notice your breath and you focus on it and you take hold of it and control it in a conscious way, everything changes. We often just float through, without coming back to the conscious breath, but this breathing technique of slow and deep conscious breathing alleviates symptoms of distress by balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic responses in the body (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).

The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for intense physical activity and is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response. The parasympathetic nervous system has almost the exact opposite effect and relaxes the body and inhibits or slows many high energy functions.

We want that parasympathetic nervous system to always be in effect. Especially while we are at work. This is a tool that we all have, it’s free and it’s ours to use at any point in time. What an incredible gift.