Calm breathing is a technique that helps to slow down your breathing when you feel stressed or anxious.
Our breathing changes when we feel anxious. We tend to take short, quick, shallow breaths, or even hyperventilate; this is called over breathing. This type of breathing can make you feel more anxious because it can cause a racing heart, dizziness and headaches.
Calm breathing is a great tool that you can use whenever you are feeling anxious, however it does require some practice.
It involves taking smooth, slow and regular breaths. Sitting upright is usually better because it can increase the capacity of your lungs to fill with air. Place your hands on your lap.
For this calm breathing exercise I would like you to visualise you are in a hot tub. The weather is cold but the sky is blue. The hot tub is situated in the middle of a massive secluded garden. It is spring and all around you are trees full of blossom, in between the trees are colourful shrubs all different shapes and sizes. The colours are beautiful and vibrant. The hot tub is warm and inviting. Sit with your eyes closed and feel the warm bubbles over your skin. Open your eyes and look at the surrounding, the blue sky, the pink blossom trees and the multi coloured shrubs. Take a deep look at all the bright colours and feel how warm you are feeling.
I would like you to take a slow breath in through the nose, first filling lower lungs then upper lungs
Hold your breath for 1 or 2 seconds
Exhale slowly through the mouth for 4 seconds, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders and stomach.
Wait a few seconds before taking another breath
About 6-8 breathing cycles per minute is often helpful to decrease anxiety, but find your own comfortable breathing rhythm. These cycles regulate the amount of oxygen you take in so that you do not experience any fainting, tingling or giddy sensations that are sometimes associated with over breathing.
Make sure you pause for a few seconds after each breath to make sure you aren’t hyperventilating.
Try calm breathing for at least 5 minutes twice a day. You will gradually master the skill and feel the benefits.
Now concentrate on being in the hot tub, sit with your eyes closed for a few moments. Open your eyes when you are ready, and take another look at all the bright colours of the landscaped garden. Sit for a minute, look around you and familiarise yourself with the surroundings. When you are ready come back into the room.
I would like to help you feel calmer in your everyday life. So pick one of the strategies set out on this blog over the next few months and stick to the one that works well for you, try it every day.