Soothe the Stress: Breathe

Soothe the Stress:    A compendium of tips that work.  Try one, try ‘em all   Belly Breathing Intro 

You’re going to be hearing a lot about this: how important it is to just take a breath, because we’re gonna be in this one for a long time.

But what happens when you can’t take a breath?  What happens when you’re so anxious you literally feel like you cannot breathe, like you can’t get a good, deep breath into yourself no matter how hard you try?

Try less hard.  Try soft.  Specifically, try soft belly breathing.

Otherwise known as diaphragmatic breathing, belly breathing is simple. 

To start, lie down with your knees bent, back flat, and a pillow under your head.   (This is called ‘lying comfortably,’  though right now, you probably aren’t). Put one hand on your belly.   

  1. Close your eyes. (If you’re not ready to give up that much control yet, don’t.  Do it with your eyes open ’til you trust me).
  2. Inhale through your nose to a slow count of 5.
  3. As you inhale, allow your belly to fill up like a balloon, expanding as big and fat as possible.
  4. Exhale to a slow count of 5, letting all the air out of the balloon.
  5. Repeat.  When your mind wanders (and it will), gently bring your attention back to your breath, counting to 5 slowly as your belly expands.

Simple, yes. But not easy.  At least not at first.  But practice as little as 5 minutes, twice a day, when you don’t need it,  and you’ll find it gets easier.  And that you want more of it!

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

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