The Sound Of Our Wheels

ways-to-destress-at-your-desk-deep-breathing

Life can be stressful.

Sometimes, we just need to take a breath.

I’m reminded of the stress — and ways to counter its’ negative effects — by a classic tune by The Eagles:

Don’t let the sound of your own wheels 
drive you crazy/ 
Lighten up while you still can/ 
don’t even try to understand/ 
Just find a place to make your stand 
and take it easy

So many things in our life can become the sound of our own wheels. Our jobs can demand so much of us. Our partners want time with us. Friends and family expect time with us. Perhaps most stressful are the expectations we often apply to ourselves — the self-generating pressure of being a fantastic friend, colleague, spouse, or family member can be a heavy burden that is hard to shake.

And that’s why it’s important for us to always be mindful of ways we can hit the pause button on the DVR of life when things get crazy. To be keenly aware of our surroundings. To be in tune with our own mind and body and what they are telling us. To take time for ourselves amid the chaos of every day life.

To just…breathe.

Sometimes, when life brings us moments, days, or even weeks of time during which stress seems to be stealing our happiness, our peace, our calm — and in some cases our oxygen (literally) — the best thing we can do is purposefully breathe. Escape the chaos — if only for a few moments — and do nothing but take a few deep breaths.

According to educators at the University of South Florida, oxygen plays a critical role in our circulatory and respiratory systems. Each breath we take provides us life-sustaining oxygen and enables our bodies to remove toxic biochemicals from our bloodstream.  Irregular breathing that often results from stress, poor posture, or even chronic disease, can prevent us from using that oxygen or eliminating those harmful waste products. Science now demonstrates that chronic stress strips our body of vital nutrients and disrupts our endocrine and nervous systems. By performing deep breathing exercises, you can invoke your parasympathetic nervous system, counter the effects of stress, and achieve the kind of mind-body harmony that everyone wants and deserves.

D. Andrew Weil, renowned integrative medicine physician and advocate for holistic wellness, contends that “practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming, energizing, and can even help manage stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive orders.” Worried that you don’t have enough time? Concerned that it’ll be too difficult? Don’t be. The practice is meant to relieve stress, not cause it.

A good place to start might be Dr. Wei’s website at which he discusses a few simple exercises for beginners looking to give it a shot:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html

For those not looking to get all “holistic” — the lesson remains the same. Life gets crazy. Stressors exist all around us. It can be awfully hard to carve out 45 minutes a day for daily exercise or meditation. Escaping the office for a couple of minutes during the day to just sit, relax, and breathe may be just the thing you need to refocus and rejuvenate.

Great leaders know they must take time for themselves just like they do for others. They search for outlets through which their stress can be emptied out like running water from a kitchen faucet. They work hard — harder than most — and they serve others exponentially well. But they also know when to sit in the stillness of life and take a few breaths.

So the next time you wake up, on a Wednesday or any other day of the week for that matter, I encourage you to take a few moments for yourself.

Breathe deeply.

If you’re quiet, you may just enjoy hearing the sound of your own wheels.

Author: Christopher Sell

Chris Sell is the creator of The Wednesday Wake Up and has been penning his musings on leadership and life since 2010. He spends his days as a college career educator and business developer with a passion for connecting talent to opportunity, particularly in Michigan, his favorite state. When he's not working, you can find Chris writing about being a lucky husband and dad as a regular contributor to the "Daddy Daughter Time" blog. More info? Visit his website: christophersell.com.

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  • Cynthia Mackey

    Hi Chris,
    Great Wednesday Wake Up & just what I needed! I’ve been home for almost two weeks now recovering from an abcess & this really hit home! I’m going to look at Dr. Wei’s website & start taking deep breaths & time for me! Thank you for your great wake up articles! I always enjoy reading them & the great advice you share! take care, love to you & Whitney! Hope to see you soon…Ciocia Sis!

    • http://thewednesdaywakeup.wordpress.com Chris Sell

      Hi Ciocia Sis! Thanks for the kind feedback – I appreciate it! I hope you enjoy Dr. Weil’s website – he’s a pillar in the holistic/integrative health profession.

      Still hoping we can all meet up for part of a weekend in East Lansing this summer!

      Take care,
      Chris