When we find ourselves in anxious situations, it can be difficult to ground ourselves back to a state of awareness. The good news is that there are ways to combat feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress through the form of mindfulness. These tips and tricks are taken from The Mindfulness Toolbox by Donald Altman.
"Every emotion is connected with the breath. If you change the breathe, change the rhythm, you can change the emotion" - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
A mindfulness tip when you are overwhelmed with anxiety is the practice of belly breathing. Have you ever seen a baby breathe? With each breath its little belly moves, not the chest. That’s our natural breathing method. We’ll break down how to use belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing to relax the body.
It’s important to note that if you’re a chest breather, you’re taking shorter, faster breaths. By getting the air in the deeper part of the lungs, you’ll actually get 10x more air with each breath. This will be a slower, longer breath – but a normal-sized breath.
Here are some questions to ask yourself: Am I a chest breather or a belly breather?
You can find this out by sitting comfortably in a chair and placing a hand on your chest and another hand on your belly. Take normal breaths, which hand moves?
The next question to ask yourself is: how you can retrain yourself to belly breathe?
Try reaching behind a chair with your arms and bring your hands together. Relax your tummy muscles so your stomach can move outward as your lungs press on the stomach cavity, you should notice more movement in the belly, now you’re belly breathing!
The third step is the most important, how should you practice belly breathing?
Try practicing for one minute at a time, three times a day. Notice when you start to feel tense or stressed and practice a minute of belly breathing right there. Pay attention to your posture, practice while standing up or lying down. You’re all set, happy belly breathing!
Try out this technique and explore more in The Mindfulness Toolbox by Donald Altman. Self-awareness helps guide us to wholeness. You got this ladies!