A lot of these early posts will be laying foundations for further work, but I do not want to wait to share an awesome technique. This one is so utterly simple, you may be tempted to blow it off. Don’t. It is powerful enough to melt through panic attacks and bypasses your brain, so it does not matter if you are too scared to think. It can be used any time, for any level of fear, and feels good.
Relaxed Diaphragmatic Breathing – How To
- Take a slow, gentle breath, making sure to poke your belly out. Put your hand on your abdomen and feel it pressing outward. (Your diaphragm is the muscle that separates your lungs from your stomach area and is used in breathing.)
- Push the air back out slowly and steadily.
- Repeat at least 5 times.
- Check in. How are you doing?
- How much tension is in your face and body? Are you immediately holding your breath or hyperventilating? If the answer is “yes,” breathe another round (or several).
- Also take a moment to pay attention to your thoughts. Imagine that they are separate from you and you are only listening and observing, as if your thoughts are a river. If they’re bouncing around, not particularly linear, or stuck circling round and round, you should keep breathing deeply.
- Keep going until you sense relief (your brain settles out, you can breathe normally, and you feel calmer).
There’s no reason to save this just for especially nasty occasions. It is really effective with mild anxiety as well.