by Alex, Recovery Coach
Yesterday in L.I.F.E.boat, our anxiety management group, we learned about how important breathing is to achieve the effect of calming down. Everyone needs to breathe to survive. When the breathing is even and controlled, true calm can be achieved. We learned about a technique that can help regulate our breathing during a time of stress:
Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds, and then breathe out through your mouth for 6 seconds.
Doing this will ensure that your body that your body has the right balance of oxygen (what we breathe in) and carbon dioxide (what we breathe out). It might seem a little unnatural compared to the way you normally breathe, but practice this, and it will become second nature. It’s important to practice this regularly so you know what to do when you need it the most. It is recommended to practice for 5 minutes 3 times a day. Any moment you can spare when you will not be interrupted will be optimal.
As my piano teacher used to say, “Practice makes permanent.”
Are you a stomach breather or a chest breather? When you take a normal breath, do you notice that your chest rises or your stomach rises? A way to test this is to place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Take a breath and see which one moves the most. It’s been said that people who tend to breathe with their chests might experience more anxiety while people who breathe with their stomach experience less anxiety: it’s science! Who knew that breathing could be so involved?
The next time that you are feeling stressed or anxious, use this breathing technique to help calm you down. Remember the 4-2-6 method: in for 4, hold for 2, and out for 6. This will slow your breathing to a manageable rate.