What do you do when microaggressions at work start affecting your well-being? Many black employees resort to code-switching, changing their appearance, or simply ignoring it. However, the stress that accompanies discrimination in the workplace can cause physical and mental harm, and exploring different methods to keep your feet on the ground could potentially save lives.

According to Harvard Medical School, discrimination can contribute to several health problems, like high blood pressure. This is especially true for black women, according to a study which appeared in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which found a link between chronic discrimination and high blood pressure in a large sample of African American women.

Zhalisa “Zee” Clarke has an MBA from Harvard who went from managing teams at Fortune 500 companies to being a mindfulness and breathwork instructor. After experiencing the damaging physical and mental effects of workplace microaggressions, Clarke began her journey to find healing.

“I spent years working in financial services in Silicon Valley, and during those years being a black woman was very difficult. I was passed over for promotions. than me,” Clarke shares with CNBC Make It.

“I was saying things in meetings and people were completely ignoring my comment. And then a white colleague could say the exact same thing and be praised. And it started to affect my physical and emotional health. I can’t tell you how much sleepless nights I thought, ‘I’m going to get fired,’ every day.”

This work exhaustion sent Clarke on a sabbatical to India, where she earned her yoga certification, became a sound healer, and studied breathing. Practitioners say that these elemental healing methods offer several health benefitssuch as lower anxiety, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and lower risk of heart disease, although not all have been proven.

Clarke recommends that black people experiencing work stress, discrimination, and/or burnout practice mindfulness, which she describes as “noting how you feel and also what’s going on around you.” She uses the acronym RAIN to stay self-aware in these situations.

“R is for Acknowledge how you feel. If you’re angry, recognize that it’s okay to be angry. The A is for Allowing it to be there, the opposite of sweeping it under the rug. I is for Investigate. What are you going through right now and what do you need to feel better? And the N is for Nurture, do something about it.

Clarke also urges black people to practice breathing techniques, which can help “release anger and reduce anxiety.” These techniques can be a quick fix when you’re in an environment where you can’t necessarily walk away to gather.

Clarke has two breathing techniques she uses when she’s in the moment: abdominal breaths and the 4-7-8 breath.

Abdominal breaths stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for resting and digesting the body when the body is relaxed, resting, or feeding, according to Direct sciences.

“Inhale and let your belly expand like a balloon. Then exhale and let that belly come towards your spine. That’s what triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and it’s a quick response when you notice you’re being triggered.”

According to Health line4-7-8 breathing helps rebalance the body and regulate the fight or flight response we feel when we are stressed.

“Anxiety can be very debilitating,” says Clarke. “The 4-7-8 breath, which is when you inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of 8, is amazing for anxiety. and insomnia.”

To verify:

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