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Managing Stress: How To Deal With The Drama For A Happier, Healthier You

Posted Dec 20 2009 7:20pm
By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

One Simple Technique Can Help You Manage Stress

“Oh, hello Drama, it’s you again! I really could do without you showing up right now. You seem to show up at the wrong times. Sometimes, I’ll admit it, I like a little drama. A little drama is a good thing. It keeps me moving, and gets the adrenaline pumping. But, drama listen, this isn’t a good time for you to be showing up. I have a million things on my plate and I need to focus. I’ve really had my fair share of drama, so could you do me a huge favor and just chill for a while.”

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could just choose when we want a little drama in our lives?  A little drama is a good thing, but too much can wreak havoc on our health.

Ladies (and men), it doesn’t matter who you are; drama visits us all, and it can show up unexpectedly.

There are days when everything is running smoothly and you feel completely in control.

The next day…

Drama comes calling

You have a really important meeting to get to, you make sure you’re up early; the kids are off to school. You decide to leave earlier than usual because you don’t want to be late for the meeting.

Somehow on the day you need to get to work early, wouldn’t you know, there’s traffic backed up for miles. You’re not even near the bridge and you’re cutting it close. Your heart begins to pound a little faster and you start to sweat, because you’re thinking that you really need to get to work.

Or  you just found out that you got laid off from your job and your “to-do” list is so long you feel that there is no end in sight.

Or right in the middle of working on your computer, it crashed and you stared in horror at a black screen wondering if you just lost all of your documents–(oh by the way, you had every intention of backing it up, but in the midst of “life” you just didn’t get to it).

These are just a few examples of Drama visiting you when you could really do without it.  The key is to deal with drama.

So, how do you deal with the drama?

Breathe; just simply breathe the right way!

While I’m a huge fan of yoga, you don’t need to be in a yoga studio to breathe. The great news is– you can focus on your breathing anywhere.

Just breathe sounds so easy, right? Actually, there’s a way to breathe properly so you can help reduce stress.

I asked Eva Selhub, MD, Author of, The Love Response, and physician at The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, to offer some simple breathing tips.

It’s important to realize that when you feel stress, your breathing becomes more shallow, says Eva Selhub, MD.

4 easy tips to help you breath the right way and to help you deal with the Drama (or stress): Dr. Selhub says:

1. Become aware of your breath
2. Focus on the miracle of inhaling and the miracle of exhaling–(inhale as deeply as you can until you can’t take in any more air, then let it all go as you exhale until there is nothing left)–
3. Then count 1-2-3-4 as they inhale- taking a little pause
4. Then 4-3-2-1 as they exhale

Do this for ten cycles. By becoming aware of your breath and focusing on how you breathe, “that starts reducing stress response reactivity immediately,” says Dr. Selhub.

Sometimes when you’re conscious of your breath and you’re concentrating on breathing, it may help to use verbal commands.

Dr. Selhub recommends:

As you inhale–say, I inhale peace
As you exhale–say, I let go of tension
OR
As you inhale–say, I am enough
As you exhale–say, I have enough

I asked Dr. Selhub what the best way to breathe is; is it in the nose and out through the mouth, or in through the nose, out through the nose?

“I just ask people to be conscious that each inhale and exhale is a miracle. When you are in awe of the breath, you actually breathe. In stress, you do whatever is most comfortable. Many people recommend inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, but I just say “do what you’re most comfortable with”, says Dr. Selhub.

So, the next time Drama grabs you, breathe, just focus on your breath and breathe! Breathing the right way can help you become a healthier and happier YOU!

How do you deal with the drama in your life?  Do you find that by focusing on your breathing it helps you deal with the stress?  We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks so much.  You can follow me on twitter.

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