If you scour the internet for Cognitive Behavioral resources, you will find a simple breathing technique in almost every website, article and book. It has many names and variations from Deep Breathing, (Deep) Relaxation, Mindful(ness) Breathing, Centered Breathing or Calm Breathing. The activity is almost exactly the same no matter which one you choose and these techniques have been proving themselves to be effective to fight against stress and depression. If reading texts is not helpful there are also many websites (and apps) that offer mp3 audio files that walk you through this activity peacefully – here is a collection of mp3s, here is another collection and here for Android apps by Excell at Life which also include similar exercises and tools.
The wonderful thing about this breathing technique is that anyone can do this anywhere. It is most effective laying down or sitting comfortably on a chair or bed or other comfortable setting but you are not limited to this. If you are about to take a test, enter a stressful situation or go into a house or room that you know will be stressful you can do a simple variation of this breathing technique to lower your blood pressure, prevent against damage stress can take on the body and lower anxiety levels quickly. It is used to help people suffering from depression and studies are proving its effectiveness.
Here is the long and the short of the activity if you have not clicked on all my links and already mastered it. This version could be used in almost any situation.
1. Get as relaxed as possible, it may not be possible.
2. Breath through your nose, a long deep breath, count to four in your head while taking in oxygen.
3. Take an even longer deep breath out of your mouth. If you can count to eight (in your head) while exhaling.
4. Repeat this two or three times before approaching the stressor.
Close your eyes if it helps and focus solely on taking that breath. Push out any distraction that comes your way. Also Imagine your belly filling up with air. Experts suggest placing a hand on the belly so you get practice doing it properly. This shouldn’t just fill your chest but actually be deep belly breathing. It may take some practice and it may only occur for you in a peaceful, comfortable place.
If you like these types of coaching and mental health tips follow this blog and check me out at alexanderdolin.com. I can help coach you with other similar techniques.