Stressed? Breath in & Count to 5...

As a nurse, you most definitely know the meaning of the words Stressed Out! If you're anything like me, you've also tried all sorts of techniques for getting a hold of yourself so that you don't Burn Out.

Here are a few of the popular ways that many of us have tried to Mellow Out:

Yoga, Tai Chi, massage, running, cycling, and other body-centered methods

Guided imagery, hypnosis, self-hypnosis, concentration, and other mind-centered methods

Prayer, meditation, church or temple attendance, studying sacred texts, social justice work, serving the needy, and other spiritual methods.

Psychotherapy, personal coaching, support groups of all stripes, and other emotion-centered methods.

Clutter-busting, time management, professional groups, unions, and other practical-centered methods

And most likely you'vefound that all of these methods work to some degree at various times and places. The problem is that when you're stressed at work you don't always have access to your method of choice.

For instance, you may feel utterly peaceful in yoga's classic relaxation pose, called Dead Man's pose - or Shavasana, in Sanskrit. But when you're gripped by anxiety or fear while at a patient's bedside, that technique won't do you much good.

That's why more and more stress experts and clinicians are recommending that nurses, and other stressed professionals, use the simple remedy of returning to the breath. Your breath is always with you -- from the first moments after birth to the final end of life, you can count of your breath. Breathing is the most natural thing that we do -- nothing exotic or odd about breathing in and out. And your breathe has a powerful influence on your thinking and feeling -- actually, your whole way of being is tied to your breath. Try this technique the next time you're under the gun:

Conscious Breathing

Stay focused in the moment, don't fight your thoughts and feelings (fight response), but also don't try to flee from them (flee response), also resiset doing nothing (freeze response) by simply taking three deep breaths slowly. Count to five while inhaling and to five while exhaling. No need to gulp in air, or to hyperventilate. Breathe naturally and you'll find that each breather becomes fuller and deeper. Your body will naturally become more relaxed, and your mind will become more calm and quiet.

It's as simple as that! So sit or stand tall and breathe to the count of five.