Here’s a simple breathing exercise that help soothe many of the physical symptoms of anxiety.
This deep breathing exercise may be the single most important coping technique for calming symptoms of anxiety and stress. Comfortable, deep breathing is the key to relaxation.
Two main things need to happen in breathing to restore calm.
1. Breathe from the belly, so that it actually moves outwards and inflates.
2. Exhale out all the way, pushing the belly back towards the spine to ensure that you push as much air out as you comfortably can
When you breathe in a shallow manner, it can actually trigger more anxiety. We call this chest breathing. If you put your hand on your chest and one on your belly, where do you notice the most movement?
You can either sit or lay down for this exercise. If you’re sitting, place a hand on your belly and try to straighten your spine. If you are lying down, place a rock, crystal, or small object on your belly.
Take a slow breath in counting to 4. If you are lying down, your stomach should push the object towards the ceiling. If you are sitting, your hand should move away from you.
As you breathe out count to 5. If you are lying down, the object should move back towards the floor. If you are sitting, your hand should move back towards your spine.
– Jesse Hanson, Clinical Director