Breathing. We all do it automatically and it’s essential for our survival. Finding your breath however, is intentional.
Paying attention to your breath on purpose allows you to have the power to work on regaining a sense of calm. Mindful breathing is one of the frist skills I like to introduce to my clients since no matter where you are, what you’re doing, you have your breath.
Mindful breathing can reduce stress and anxiety, relaxing the mind and body. Slowing your breath stimulates the vagus nerve which is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to calm the body.
Here are a few mindful breathing techniques (focus on one of these techniques for 2-5 minutes) –
Breath in for 3, out for 3
Breath in for 4, out for 6
Breath in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4
At first, becoming aware of your breathing in moments of panic can sometimes create more anxiety especially if you’re struggling to slow your breathing down. Stick with the technique for a few moments, allowing your parasympathetic nervous system time to kick in. You are in control of your breathing, just focus on the inhale and the exhale.
Noting your breathing is not a cure all, the intention is that it will give you a few more moments to reset. To re-align with who you want to be. To give you the opportunity to respond instead of react. Without this, your body can take you away into fight or flight and then you may do or say something that isn’t in line with who you want to be.
Finding your breath is a calming superpower. You can be alone, in public, driving, anywhere. No matter where you are, your breath is with you to support you. You just have to pay attention to it.
Kendra Bittner LPC
Empowerment Within LLC