Calm Your Anxiety with this Powerful Technique (but You NEED to Get it Right)
How do you cope when you feel out-of-this-world, anxious, and jumpy?
How do you cope when there are people everywhere and you’re emotionally stretched and ready to snap?
You don’t need to be delving deep into your feelings. At that moment, you need something powerful that works in an instant.
I’ll bet that you’ve tried a breathing exercise.
If it didn’t work for you, read on.
Let your body do the communication – say nothing!
You can use your breath to relax and calm your body. I’m sure you’ve taken deep breaths before. Try it now and pay attention to how it feels like you’re softening into your body when you do it.
As you breathe in and out, and you move your body in tune with your breathing, you will feel slow and peaceful.
That’s your reptilian brain (at the top of your spine) responding automatically to your relaxed body.
It’s the part of the brain that monitors how your body is functioning and when you a take a deep breath that moves through your body, you are effortlessly and unconsciously sending a message to your reptilian brain that says “Everything is okay”.
When you are anxious, your reptilian brain is not feeling okay.
It is jumpy, stressed and often plain scared.
Breathing can change all of that.
All your arguing with yourself, your thinking, or talking to yourself will never be as effective as using your breathing to calm your brain.
Please don’t do this or breathing won’t work for you
Whatever you do, please don’t take your deep, slow breaths because you need to get rid of your anxiety.
Please don’t take this deep breath because you need to fix the awful feelings you have inside of you.
Unless, of course, you have been practicing breathing for some time.
Let me explain.
Your brain works by using associations to link ideas together.
In your head, you’ll have a thought associated with a particular feeling. You may have a place in your mind that is associated with a smell. You’ll tend to associate a person with a feeling.
You never want to associate breathing with fear, but if you only do breathing exercises when things are bad, that’s precisely what’s going to happen.
Always start your breathing practice at times when you feel relatively okay.
When you have trained your brain to respond to your breathing, you can start to use it at difficult times.
For now, when you are beginning to breathe for yourself:
Take a long, deep, slow breath.
Say nothing, think nothing, let the feelings be
Take this breath because you are you.
Because you are alive.
Because you are doing what matters to you today
Take this breath just because you can.
Watch from afar as the air goes through your body.
Let your brain and body work together to do their magic.
Try this breathing exercise to start
- Sit down in a comfortable chair, with your feet flat on the floor and your eyes closed or resting gently on something in front of you
- Bring your attention to your breathing
- Notice that when you breathe in your tummy fills with air and expands
- Notice that when you breathe out your tummy empties and falls
- Think about a balloon filling up in your tummy with every in-breath and the same balloon emptying itself with every out-breath.
- If your head keeps thinking and talking to you, bring it gently back to noticing your breathing
- If your feelings start to overwhelm you, bring your mind gently back to noticing your breathing
- Focus on the air moving into your tummy and out of your tummy
- Take long, slow, deep breaths and enjoy being with you
- Practice daily
Here’s why you need to breathe that way
- Uses your body to calm your worried brain (the source of many fears)
- Enlivens your cells and gives you energy
- Moves you through fight/flight responses to bring you back to base
- Helps you calm when you are uncertain and unsure
- Works when you are busy and distracted because you needn’t pay much attention to it
- Brings to physically back into your body (instead of floating away in your head)
- Stretches and expands your body, allowing feelings to move
- Conveys a message of acceptance to your brain
- Gives you a focus
- Reminds you that you are alive
- Gives you a moment to calibrate and decide how you will react
- Is easy and great for kids (get them to blow out candles)
- Helps you get in touch with (because you notice) your feelings
Breathing deeply and slowly is the simplest, most natural habit you can develop that will effectively help you manage sticky, scary thoughts and feelings.
Find a breathing practice that you like and build it into your life.
I wish for you all the peace, the sense of slowing, and the calmness that comes from breathing.
If you’ve found this helpful, you might want to check out my free e-book Twelve Ways to Change Your Thinking. Just click on the book image below, enter your e-mail address in the form, and I’ll send you a link to download the book completely free of charge.