By Diane Breneman

Featured Wellness Contributor

3 Minute Read


If you think you’re enlightened, go home for the holidays. ~ Wayne Dyer

Holidays stressing you out?

As you may suspect, you are not alone in that experience!

Studies show what you already know: the holiday season takes an intense toll on women who are still primarily responsible for shopping, decorating, cooking and attempting to managing everyone’s holiday cheer.

When your days are compounded with less sleep, little time to work out or meditate and fabulously unhealthy food, even those who excel at emotional management can struggle.

As a result, those aspects of the holidays intended to bring the most joy, such as spending more time than usual with family and friends, can bring its challenges.

This time of year, every mother, wife, family member and hostess needs a holiday emergency kit to treat those not so joyful moments.

Thankfully, all you need in this kit is one extremely powerful tool, a specialized three-sided breath.

When you are emotionally triggered by that crazy uncle, irritating co-worker or overly festive friend, the most effective way to regain your sanity is to breathe a slow breath with a longer exhale then inhale.

Although it seems overly simplistic, there is a scientific reason for the power of the three-sided breath.

The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in your body connecting the brain to most of your organs. Although originally scientists believed that it was through this nerve that the brain controlled the body, they ultimately discovered that 80% of the communication was coming from the body to the brain.

Science now knows that it is through this pathway that the body communicates to the brain when a threat has passed.

If you think about the last time a particularly intense situation resolved, you may remember letting out a big exhale.

That is the automatic sound made by your body when the vagus nerve sends a signal to the brain’s fear center that all is now well. When you breathe a breath with a longer exhale then inhale, you automatically trigger the release of your brain’s fear center and therefore, relieve your stress.

The more you practice such a breath, the stronger your vagus nerve becomes and therefore, the quicker you can step out of stress and into peace.

Therefore, before you grab that next glass of wine, scream into a pillow or contribute to a charged dinner conversation destined to be recalled in therapy sessions, breathe a three-sided breath.

To execute this practice, simply inhale for a count of four, pause and hold your breath for a count of two and then exhale for a count of six.

After three of four such breaths, you should be feeling mentally clear again and ready to face the holidays with cheer.

Wishing you a beautiful and peaceful holiday season!