This breathing technique changed my life. Seriously. Before 2020, I didn’t have much experience with anxiety. I had one true panic attack, short lived stress points, and some mild anxiety. I was very familiar with depression, but anxiety was new to me, and I didn’t like it.
At first, I didn’t even realize it was anxiety, it took more than a year for me to realize I had been living in a permanent state of high anxiety. The realization even stressed me out because I teach breathing, yoga and meditation all the time. How could I not see what was happening to me?
That’s a story for another day.
What helped me realize I had been living in a constant state of anxiety?
I noticed I wasn’t breathing.
Deepak Chopra said “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”
I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean hold your breath! I held my breath or was breathing shallow, all the time. All the time. Clearly, this behavior couldn’t continue.
Why is breathing important? In addition to the fact that your body needs oxygen to live, proper breathing (steady breaths, all the way in and all the way out) can increase mental clarity, help you sleep better, digest food better, improve your immune response, reduce tension and anxiety, and it gives you optimal levels of CO2 in your blood.
So, what did I do? First, I thought about breathing as often as I could remember. Breathing is an automatic response for your body, but mine wasn’t doing a very good job. I kept thinking about it.
Every time I remembered, I took full deep breaths, all the way in and all the way out, slowly and completely.
Try it with me now.
- Place one hand on your heart, and one hand on your belly. Begin breathing slow and steady, all the way in, and all the way out.
- As you inhale feel your belly rise, keep going, breathe all the way in until you can’t inhale any more, keep going, all the way in. As you exhale feel your belly fall, exhale completely, squeeze all the air out at the bottom, contract your belly muscles, get it all out. Inhale again, slow and steady. Exhale again, all the way.
- If you get dizzy or light headed, please stop and return to your normal breath. If you are in a safe space to close your eyes, you can take this breathing exercise further by turning your gaze inward to calm your mind and calm your body.
- Taking slow deep breaths calms your nervous system, it tells your body there is nothing wrong and everything is okay. It automatically reduces anxiety.
- Are you still breathing? Relax your body. Relax your mind. Focus your attention on your breath. Inhale completely, all the way until you can’t inhale anymore. Exhale fully, let it all go, squeeze your belly muscles to get out. Feel your body rise and fall as you inhale and exhale, strong and steady. Remember to go slow.
- Let go of your inner dialogue, your expectations and fears. You can always come back to focusing on your breath.
- Breathe here a few more times. Let it all go. Relax and just breathe.
You did it! Great job! Change your life by doing this one simple breathing technique. It helped me let go of the anxiety that was holding me hostage. Think about it as often as possible, take slow deep breaths, all the way in and all the way out. Slow. Steady. You can do it!
I want you to remember this article, and how silly it was for that empath author to remind you to breathe. When you think about it, remember to take slow, deep breaths, all the way in and all the way out. Now go about your day and smile because you feel better already!
With love & gratitude,