One of my favorite de-stressor or coping skills that I teach to all my clients young and old that can be done anywhere at any time is “Belly Breathing”.
Belly Breathing is a very powerful and very simple technique. It’s amazing how just taking just three deep breaths changes your brain chemistry proving you with instant relief to stress and tension. This type of breathing teaches you to breathe slowly from your “diaphragm” or belly. Belly Breathing relaxes you and directly reduces many of the symptoms of anxiety and panic.
Just 3 deep breaths changes your body chemistry
Here’s a good way to learn Belly Breathing
- First sit comfortable with your legs uncrossed and place one hand on your belly about 2 inches below belly button. Let your eyes close.
- Focusing your attention on your belly as it rises and falls as you slowly breathe in and out. Now let your breathing get even slower, and count one…two…three as you breath in and one…two…three as you breath out. Expand your belly as much as you can – like a balloon. You know you’re doing “belly breathing” right when you can feel your belly expand. Then, exhale to the slow count of 3, just letting all the air out of the balloon. As you exhale, just feel yourself letting go of tension.
- Keep repeating the belly breathing to the slow count of 3. As you breath, try to keep a continuous flow of air without thinking about the beginning or end of each breath.
- Pay attention only to the feeling of the breath.
- If other thoughts wander in, just let them wander out again.
- If you have trouble getting the hang of Belly Breathing, try lying down and putting something on you’re belly. Then put all your attention into making it go up and down with each breath.
- Once you have mastered your Belly Breathing, you can use it when you have symptoms of anxiety or panic. Many of the “scary sensations” of panic are related to “hyperventilation”, which simply means rapid breathing. Also, during panic, people tend to breathe from the chest instead of from the belly. Breathing rapidly from the chest increases anxiety. Breathing slowly from the belly lowers anxiety and reduces many of the “scary sensations” of panic.
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