If you're like most people, you've probably experienced at least one of these during a stressful day at work: throbbing head, stiff neck and shoulders, a stifling feeling in your chest, digestive issues, anxiety, and irritability. These are all common symptoms of stress. Stress is an unavoidable aspect of life, and to an extent, it motivates us to work hard for our goals and responsibilities. What’s important is to manage stress so it doesn’t overwhelm us. Here’s a set of exercises and a breathing technique to help you manage stress, called the Get Bright Method.
Let’s look at our bodies from the perspective of energy. Energy flows in the body like water flows through pipes. Stress can clog the pipes: it blocks circulation and makes energy stagnant. The hot energy that needs to go down to the belly gets trapped in the head, causing more stress, frustration, and anxiety. The organs in the belly don’t receive the energy they need, weakening their functions and the immune system.
What can you do to restore the balance of energy in your body? You have to clear the clogs in the energy pathways so that cool energy can rise up and hot energy can sink down again. For this, it’s helpful to know about the Joongwan point. The Joongwan is located in the exact center of the stomach area, halfway between the bottom of the sternum and the naval. Check out the GIF below to locate your Joongwan.
The Joongwan is situated at the center of your gut. Gut health and the gut-brain connection have become hot topics in modern health science. Research shows that the gut produces 90% of our serotonin (the happiness hormone) and 50% of our dopamine (the joy & motivation hormone). Stimulating the Joongwan promotes better digestion and circulation in the abdominal organs while also vitalizing the production of these important hormones, supporting mood regulation and emotional control.
Now that you know about the importance of the Joongwan point (and where it is… hopefully you've found yours), let’s introduce a breathing technique to help open the Joongwan point and relieve stress-- the “Get Bright Method”. This breathing technique is especially helpful for people who feel frustrated or anxious, who are ordinarily tired or lack ambition, who have trouble sleeping, or who are irritable.
Here are two warm-up exercises that can help you open a blocked Joongwan point before practicing the Joongwan Breathing Method. You can do them while standing, seated in a chair, or on the floor.
First, use your hands to rhythmically pat up and down along the centerline of your chest and abdomen. Breathe naturally and exhale slowly with a long “Hoo . . .” sound. After doing this for about two minutes, pat around the Joongwan area for another minute. Then sweep down from your chest to the abdomen three times.
The second movement involves working your arms and shoulders to relax your chest and back. Lightly make fists and pull your elbows back, opening your chest and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then do the same motion with your palms facing upwards. Repeat this movement for 1 to 2 minutes.
There are two Get Bright Breathing exercises. One is Joongwan Pumping, in which you rhythmically and repeatedly press your Joongwan, and the other is Joongwan Breathing, in which you deeply and slowly stimulate your Joongwan with breathing and pressure. You can do both exercises standing, sitting, or lying down. Use your fingers or the Healing Life wand, a tool that was developed for Belly Button Healing.
First, for Joongwan Pumping, bring the index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands together and use them to rhythmically press your Joongwan for 1 to 2 minutes. It may be easier and more effective if you use the Healing Life tool. It’s important at this time to relax your belly, shoulders, and arms so they aren't tense. Breathe naturally and exhale slowly with a long, "Hoo . . ." sound.
For Joongwan Breathing, press your Joongwan as you exhale for 3 to 5 seconds Then release the pressure as you inhale for 3 to 5 seconds. You can use the index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands or use one thumb while supporting with the other hand. Keep doing this breathing exercise for 5 to 10 minutes. When pressing on your abdomen, only press until you begin to feel the pulse in your abdomen. It might be slightly uncomfortable but you should not feel acute pain. Take care not to press too hard.
For this meditation, you can lie with your back flat on the floor, sit on the floor, or sit in a chair with your back straight. Imagine that you are in a place where you can enjoy nature - for example - on a beach listening to the sound of gentle waves, on a hill watching a beautiful sunset, or in a field enjoying the warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. Bring your index and middle fingers together and touch them to your Joongwan or place one hand over the other on your Joongwan. Breathe comfortably in this position for about 3 minutes. Comfortably watch the changes arising in your body and mind as if observing yourself from outside.
When we experience the aforementioned stress symptoms, our thoughts naturally find people and situations to blame, which actually causes even more stress. Instead, try to see stress as your body’s way of communicating with you that it needs help. If you couldn’t feel these symptoms you would have no way of knowing when something wasn’t working inside your body. This new perspective can help you be more mindful and appreciative of your body. When you shift your focus from the outside to the inside, you will see more clearly what’s causing your stress. It's in our nature to face these burdens courageously. With awareness of your true nature you can smile at stress knowing it’s there to help you grow and get brighter.
We hope the Get Bright method is helpful to you in managing stress and seeing it from a different perspective. Try practicing for just ten minutes a day, or whenever you have a break-- with consistent practice, you will feel a significant change in your energy. And if you feel that it’s beneficial for you, go ahead and share it with those around you!