I’d like to share this breathing tip with you because I don’t know about you, but my anxiety has been running high lately.
People frequently say to “take a deep breath,” or a few, if you’re feeling anxious. Sure, that’s great. Then they give you tips like “breathe in four, hold for four, out for four.” OK.
But what is often forgotten is about is where we should be breathing.
What has been remarkably helpful for me, even before doing any of those kinds of tips, is to practice breathing into my belly. All of us are born natural “belly-breathers,” but as we age and stress affects us, we become chest-breathers. You’ll notice that typically we’ll be breathing into our chests and not into our bellies. I do a really quick demonstration in the video below to show you how I practice belly breathing. It’s pretty straightforward.
OK. Wanna try this with me? Let’s do it.
- Put your hand on your belly.
- If you like, put your hand on your chest. This is to remind yourself to be compassionate towards yourself.
- Take a breath in through the nose, and out through your mouth; in through the nose, out through the mouth.
- Direct the breath into your belly.
See if your hand can rise where your belly is. Your chest will likely still rise, but if you can get some air into your belly, that’s what matters. Just taking a few deep breaths into your abdomen, in itself, can be quite relaxing and reduce some anxiety.
I sometimes use a heart monitor app, like the free app HeartRate LITE. You can do your own biofeedback. Do a baseline check to see what your heart rate is like normally. Then do belly breathing and see if it changes. Even if it changes and goes down one point, that’s quite significant.
I’ll be back with a second video teaching a specific cycle of breathing strategy—one that actually does calm me, which is saying a lot. Because when that Tasmanian devil of anxiousness razes my internal landscape and my heart gets going, my breath gets shallow and my mind starts spinning, some breathing strategies just don’t cut it. The one I’ll share in my next post does. Until then, happy breathing (belly breathing, that is).
Comment below to let me know how this works for you! I love hearing from you, my fellow wellness warrior. Recovery is better when we encourage each other.
© Victoria Maxwell.