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  • Writer's pictureLouisa Meyer

How to cope with Christmas stress

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, yet for lots of us, it's the most stressful time of the year. How can we manage all the stress and anxiety the festive season brings? A quick way is though relaxed breathing, it's as easy as one, two, three and four. When we are stressed or anxious and feel threatened (going head to head with marauding Christmas crowds will do that) our breathing speeds up preparing us to fight or run away. It's our bodies natural way of protecting us, though not always a practical, after all doing a runner from the legions of Christmas crowds won't get the turkey on the table. To counter this response try relaxed breathing, its slower and deeper than our normal breathing, occurring in our tummy rather than our chest. It counters the fight or flight response by sending "it's safe to relax" signal to our bodies regulating our system returning us to normal service Follow these steps to give it a go: Consciously focus on slowing your breathing Breathe in through your nose, inhale to the count of four, hold for one, exhale to the count of four. Your breath should be smooth, steady and continuous. To check you are doing it right put one hand on your tummy and one hand on your chest. Your breathing should be low down in your tummy, the hand on your chest should remain still while the hand on your tummy moves with your breath. Keep your focus on your breath, if it helps count in one... two... three... four.... hold for one... out for four... three... two... one... Practice makes perfect so practice a couple of times a day for about 5 to 10mins until it starts to feel natural.

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