If there is anything I can fully vouch for is the use of breathing techniques to quell anxiety. It is not just for person’s suffering with anxiety but also for those nervous moments, those nights you take too long to fall asleep, or that moment of anger. Breathe!
Have you ever had one of those moments when your mind starts drifting and you only realize that you have put yourself into a trance when your chest starts clamming up? Or in that moment of anger or sadness, you take close to 2 minutes to realize that you have stopped breathing. Whenever I am in these situations I always try to stop and breathe.
I learnt this technique from my first Yoga class years ago. We, humans, usually breathe using our upper chest, it is a shallow and a less calming way to breathe. The trick is to breathe from your diaphragm. Follow these instructions-
- Breathe in through your nostrils, counting slowly for at least 4 counts. As you breathe in feel your stomach expand as you allow the air to fill your entire body.
- Hold the breath for 2 counts
- Slowly breathe out for no less than 4 counts through your mouth. As you exhale feel your stomach slowly contract, as though you are pushing all of the air back out.
Tip: Breathe in and out for 8 breathes for falling asleep
Ta-da! With those few steps I have not just taught you on how to breathe but how to meditate. There are two ways to calm yourself using this technique. First, focus only on counting the breaths to clear your mind. Focusing on counting distracts you from whatever was clouding your mind. Secondly, you can imagine ‘good vibes’ entering your body as you breathe in and the ‘bad vibes’ leaving as you breathe out. The second way personally helps me when I start doubting myself or someone pissed me off. In those times of anger, breathing gives you time to rethink your stance on your situation and consider if the emotion is warranted. Most time you will realize that it isn’t.
Next time you start to feel overwhelmed, breathe. You may just find yourself doing it every hour of the day but that beats allowing those negative emotions to run free.
Ps: For my next blog I have started an experiment to sting myself with a rubber band for every negative thought. Lol, we will see how that goes!