Stress Management 101: Teach Employees How to Breathe

By Werner Absenger Chef de Cuisine, Cygnus 27 at Amway Grand Plaza | April 27, 2014

Controlled Breathing: The Most Basic of Mind-body Techniques

Noticing your breathing pattern and being able to change breathing from tension producing to one of relaxation is a simple and crucial mind-body technique. 
Meditation and deep-breathing form the foundation for many other mind-body techniques (1).

When we are stressed, many of us tend to breathe shallowly. This shallow breathing elevates blood pressure, heart rate and raises anxiety. Deep breathing, either gently in meditation or rapidly during chaotic breathing increase the body's capacity to draw in oxygen and free carbon dioxide. 
Deep breathing calms the mind and engages the body's natural relaxation response. 
Deep breathing also decreases blood pressure, reduces heart rate and promotes cardiac function. It is also beneficial for other stress-related conditions such as diabetes, intestinal problems, asthma, chronic pain, depression and anxiety(1).

The appreciation of the significance of breath is detected in the word "inspiration." The name for taking in breath also suggests that one is "inspired," "excited," "ennobled," or "turned on" by life. Respiration is the only system of the body that is both automatic and voluntary. Breathing goes on without us having to think about it. Breathing also can be controlled(1).

Breathing has this excellent adaptability about it. It is always there, always accessible for use, and we can shape breathing. As we form our breath, as we regulate its depth or shallowness or its rate, we can also modify many other functions in the body(1).

Breathing is responsive to emotional states and can also shape emotional states. When you are stressed, breathing is shallow and hurried, and the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated. The body wants more oxygen to go to the large muscles, so it can either run away or fight. If you are ready for a fight or you are trying to run, you need a rush of energy and adrenalin. If this state persists, it can cause a variety of physical problems(1).

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.