Slow it Down Girl

Here is today’s article from the KC Star.  My next blog will continue on Wednesday!


THE KANSAS CITY STAR (January 20, 2010)


Slow down and take a deep breath

While leaving my children’s preschool one morning, I fortunately was reminded what every parent needs to hear at the beginning of the day: slow down!

Who would say that to your face? No one with any sense of decorum — maybe with the exception of hall monitors or lifeguards. I was indirectly asked to slow down by a woman walking behind me who let out an audible exhalation. Actually, she could have blown me out the door with it!

Now, she didn’t realize she had done this, because when I turned around and mentioned it, she was embarrassed, so sorry. But I think she did me a favor. I am here to pass on her exhalation to you parents of young children out there. (Please, insert yours here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.)

As the caregivers of our offspring, today’s society has programmed us to be in high gear all day long. How many times have you gotten through the kids’ nightly bath and thought, “Where did the day go? Didn’t I just have my first cup of coffee a minute ago?”

We are creatures of habit and nurturers, so we run through the day repeating: feed, clean, feed, clean, feed, clean, clean, read aloud, fall into a pile of mush and pass out. Doesn’t this sound familiar?

I think breath-holding has become an epidemic problem. We need to start a movement to change this behavior. No more walking through life with our shoulders up to our ears, wracked with stress! No more headaches brought on by forgetting to eat or drink water for half the day! No more absentmindedness from multi-tasking to the extreme when you really aren’t doing anything well because you can’t focus on one thing at a time! No more weekly appointments to the massage therapist or chiropractor! OK, I take that back. I didn’t mean to say that.

Let me break down this problem medically. Our body needs oxygen (and food and water) to survive. When we are stressed, humans have a tendency to take shorter inhalations and not exhale completely. Breathe in oxygen; breathe out same amount of carbon dioxide. That’s what we should do.

Many of us stressed individuals walk around holding our breath the majority of the day. This is not good for us or the plants, which need our carbon dioxide to survive. It really isn’t just something made up by yoga instructors or granola crunchers of the 70s. You need to get rid of extra carbon dioxide in your body. And if Whitney Houston can do it, so can you! No waiting to exhale.

So when you feel your stress creeping up on you, stop and exhale. Exhale daily and deeply. Think about it. You might even save a plant.

Stacey Hatton is an Overland Park pediatric nurse and freelance writer. Her blog is at

Posted on Tue, Jan. 19, 2010 10:15 PM

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