There are often times in our life when we feel anxious and overwhelmed. This is normal, particularly when we have many responsibilities and obligations pulling on us. Controlled breathing can help to calm us during periods of anxiety and stress.
To make deep, controlled breathing effective, it helps to focus intently on the rhythmic pattern of your breath as it goes in and out. You’ll breathe easier — both literally and figuratively — once you get the knack of focused deep breathing. This skill is not only a marvelous stress reliever in itself, but also the first step in many other relaxation techniques.
Here are the basic steps:
1. Sit in a comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes. Place one hand on your belly, just below the navel.
3. Take a long, deep breath in. Try to make your hand rise slightly as you inhale.
4. Let the breat out slowly. Try to feel your hand fall slightly as you exhale.
5. Keep taking slow, deep, controlled, breaths for a few minutes. Focus on the steady rising and falling of your hand.
If you have trouble getting the hang of belly breathing, try lying down and placing a book (instead of your hand) on your belly. Then concentrate on making the book move up and down with your breathing. Many people find that the visual cue helps at first. Once you have mastered deep breathing, though, you will be able to do it anytime, anywhere, in any position.
This is one of my favorite exercises to do when I am struggling with something difficult and want to keep myself calm and focused on action that can make the situation better.
Tell us what breathing strategies best help you…