Thanksgiving is a beautiful day of overeating, parades, football, gratitude and, most importantly, pie.
Although that holiday dinner can also be filled with conversational landmines. There’s that uncle who you fight with about politics on Facebook and now have to actually see in person. Your parents like to ask loudly every chance they get why you moved so far from home or what your career is supposed to be. And every relative in the room wants to corner you and individually ask, why are you still single? Or, if you finally aren’t single, when are you going to start having kids?
There is a magic trick for dealing with these familial hazards: pause and breathe.
Any time someone brings up something you’d rather not share this Thanksgiving steer the conversation into safe waters by sharing breathing techniques. Here are a few that Yaffa Liebermann, PT, GCS, CEO has within her Benefits of Exercise to Your Wellness:
“Exhalation is a forced movement of the body while inhalation is an automatic movement. Long and deep exhalations are necessary in order to clear your lungs and make room for oxygenated air. Correct breathing requires long exhalation versus short inhalation. Breathe out twice as long as when you breathe in. The ratio of breathing should be 2:1. You may practice while walking or going up and down stairs. Breathe out for 8 steps and breathe in for 4 steps. Trunk position during breathing: when bending down, breathe out and then when straightening up, breathe in. Example: breathe out when reaching for a cup of water. Breathe in when straightening back to drink the water. Practice breathing when you are not stressed, so when you get short of breath, your body already has the knowledge on how to overcome the activity.”
The importance of deep, relaxed breathing cannot be overstated! Practiced for wellness in some cultures for centuries, the benefit to body and mind are well known but less frequently used- especially in the West (myself included!)
Thank you Yaffa for the reminder and Happy Thanksgiving to the entire Prime Rehab Family!