Take A Deep Breath. Feel Better.
By: Cheryl Schwartz, LCSW, CRC
Creating a healthy approach to our lives includes some simple adjustments, like learning how to breathe again.
It’s easy to think we know everything about how to breathe. We inhale and exhale all the time, after all. But right now, take a deep breath. Then another. Feel your chest rise as air fills your lungs, and fall as you exhale.
You feel more relaxed.
Part of the reason is that you are focusing on your body for a few seconds – really concentrating on yourself. You don’t do that often enough. (Most people don’t, to their detriment.)
Practicing deep breathing is one of the things I work on with clients. Many people visit me when they are facing anxious times in their lives, often because of work or family. Maybe they feel anxious just because they are visiting a therapist for the first time.
That’s normal. But deep breathing helps them gain control and begin to analyze and deal with their problems.
Once you learn how to breathe, practicing a few minutes at home or work will help calm nerves and bring you to the present. What’s the right technique? Take a look at how a baby breathes and you will notice the belly – not the chest — slowing rising and lowering. For adults, it helps to imagine a balloon stretched from our mouth, down through our throat to the bottom of our belly. Imagine the balloon as it fills with air from the bottom. As it swells, so does our belly, followed by our chest. That’s the proper way to breathe.
The benefits of deep breathing include an increase of oxygen to your heart and brain. Your heart rate will slow. The extra oxygen will improve your consciousness and facilitate your ability to meditate, if you choose.
Breathing correctly helps to form a foundation to bring you back to a good place when you are stressed.