Breathing is natural, right- Something that your body does automatically without you even
having to think about? Sometimes our own breath can work against us.
When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, you tend to take quicker, shallower breaths that come
more from your chest. This can create a physical response within your body- including dizziness,
increased muscle tension, and feeling as though you’re not getting enough air into your lungs.
Changing the way you are breathing allows you to ground yourself; to take control of your body
and your mind in a moment where you are feeling out of control and maybe even panicked.
Below you can find an extremely simple breathing exercise to utilize in these moments. The
technique can even be used as just as a way to check in with yourself throughout the day. This
exercise can be done sitting, standing, or laying down.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Fill your abdomen up with air, feeling it expand. Keep your shoulders and hands relaxed. Think of only your breath.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth while pursing your lips. You should hear a “whoosh as you exhale. Feel your abdomen relax.
- Repeat. Do it as many times as it takes to feel yourself become more centered and calm. Your heart rate should come down. Your muscles should relax.
As you practice this exercise, you can learn to utilize it in different ways. The practice may
evolve into being used to expel negative thoughts or a way to cope with a bad day. When you
inhale, focus on that negative thought; that negative energy. As you exhale, feel it leave your
body. Force it out and into the air, free from your lungs, your body, and mind. This practice is
used oftentimes during mindfulness activities and even during yoga sessions.
Next we will explore a technique called alternate nostril breathing…