Like most people in today's world, I have to put up with traffic— no matter what time of day. I get up to go to the Oakland Airport to catch the first flight early in the morning— 3:30, 4:00, or 4:30 — there's a lot of traffic on the road, people are in a rush to get to work, and that means they aren’t thinking rationally.
This leads to behavior that I think is just crazy. For example, drivers honking at me when I'm already going 70 miles an hour and they want me to move even faster! Or, big trucks zooming in and out of different lanes like they're little sports cars.
But the older I've gotten, the less I like being upset by these stressful external circumstances I can’t control. One of the most helpful techniques that I've learned to love is deep breathing; you can do it safely while driving and the benefits are immediate.
Whenever you find yourself caught in situations where you must pay attention and you’re under a lot of stress— driving on the road, attending an important business meeting, meeting a project deadline— deep breathing is a technique that you can use during those times to help you relax, be present, and stay grounded.
You don't have to close your eyes to practice deep breathing. You just simply breathe in and breathe out— this is the formula that I have found works the best for me. Please try it and practice it in any situation that stresses you :)
So, as I count, breathe in through your nose for a low count, and breathe out through your mouth for a longer count.
Breath in: one, two, three, four … and out through your mouth: one, two, three, four, five, six. In through your nose to a low number ... and out your mouth to a longer number.
(Sometimes, I purse my lips to remind me to go very slow.)
Now, take another deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep practicing this rhythm as you notice the parts of your body that are beginning to relax, now.
Deep breathing triggers your body’s ‘braking’ mechanism— slowing down your heart rate, calming your nervous system, and making you feel more comfortable in your body.
Isn’t that a wonderful gift to give to yourself a few times a day? Practice and have fun with this— you can do it anywhere and anytime.Have a great life because you deserve it.