Discover more from Upside Founder Programs
Tweak Your Week: Breathe Through Stress
Tips, tricks and tweaks to help founders each week. You’ll be surprised what a difference these tiny experiments can make.
Good morning Upsiders!
This week’s tweak is about how to use your breath to help you deal with feelings of stress and anxiety.
Founding a company is an amazing achievement and a huge challenge. Of course, as you all know, it can also be extraordinarily stressful, and things can get pretty overwhelming at times. Understanding our physiological responses to stress can help us harness the right tools to manage it.
Stress triggers our ancient fight or flight response, pumping adrenaline and cortisol through our system to prepare us to either leg it or duke it out when we are confronted with a perceived danger. When this happens, our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes shallow and fast, and our senses fire up on high alert.
Luckily, we are equipped with a parasympathetic nervous system, which acts a bit like a brake. When stimulated, this system can counter the fight or flight response and calm our minds and bodies.
One of the most powerful ways to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and settle yourself in moments of stress is controlled breathing. Focusing on a specific breathing pattern will elicit a relaxation response from your body and help get you through those overwhelmingly stressful moments.
Here’s how to do it:
As soon as you notice your body kicking into its fight or flight mode, stop what you are doing, sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, hands on your thighs and your eyes closed.
Focus on your natural breath for a few moments. Become aware of any acceleration in your breathing and in your heart beat.
Take four slower, deliberate breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Then start counting as you breathe, making your out breath a little longer than your in breath, say 4 counts to 6 (or 2:3 or 6:10 - whatever numbers work for you).
Your body should start to relax after just 60 seconds breathing this way. Keep it going for as long as you need to feel calmer and less panicked. Then slowly return to your natural breath and open your eyes.
Notice a difference?
Tell us how you go. Share your experiences - ‘mazing or meh - with the Upside community.
We’re all a work in progress.
Upside Founder Programs help founders become the very best leaders for their businesses as they grow from pre Series A to Series B, and beyond. The 2022 program is currently in session. Apply to be part of Upside 2023 now.
Upside Founder Programs are proudly supported by KPMG High Growth Ventures and Microsoft Australia.