Raise your hand if you deal with anxiety! We all experience anxiety on some level at some point in our lives…and for some it’s more intense than others. I know from experience that it’s a real pain in the ass.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a really anxious person. I have not been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder however I have worked with a therapist to understand and improve my anxiety for years. I’ve employed various methods to cope with my anxiety (including therapy of course), medication, exercise, eating healthy, EFT, and EMDR. I’d been recommended to do breathing exercises, and practiced them in sessions, but never did so outside of the therapist’s office. Breathing exercises—sounds nice, but that’s not going to help me much, I’d think to myself. HOWEVER, it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I decided to give it a whirl.
Going into it, I was highly skeptical. Yeah, they worked and relaxed me practicing with my therapist, but what about when I reallllly need a dose of calm?
I’m not exaggerating when I say practicing breathwork has been one of the most transformative experiences I’ve ever had. When practiced, all the pent up tension in my body dissolves and am able to process my anxiety.
According to The American Institute of Stress, 20 to 30 minutes of belly breathing each day will reduce anxiety and stress.
The kind of breathwork that I want to focus on today is belly breathing because it is a method I’ve mastered and practice daily. There are many other methods out there and I plan to implement those, too.
Here’s how to do belly breathing:
Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down. For example, try sitting in a chair, sitting cross-legged, or lying on your back with a small pillow under your head and under your knees.
- Place on hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your belly, below the ribcage.
- Allow your belly to relax, without forcing it inward by squeezing or clenching your muscles.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose. The air should move into your nose and downward so that you feel your stomach rise with your other hand and fall inward (toward your spine).
- Exhale slowly through slightly pursed lips. Take note of the hand on your chest, which should remain relatively still.
- The hand on your chest should continue to remain relatively still.
Peace, love & breathwork, xx,