Deep Belly/Diaphragmatic Breathing
Also known as calm breathing, this is a technique that helps you slow down your breathing when feeling stressed or anxious. Newborn babies naturally breathe this way, and singers and yoga practitioners use this type of breathing.
Why is calm breathing important?
♦ Our breathing changes when we are feeling stressed or anxious. We tend to take short, quick, shallow breaths, or even hyperventilate.
This tells our body to go in “fight vs flight” mode. It can actually make you feel even more anxious (e.g., due to a racing heart, dizziness, or headaches)!
♦ Calm breathing re-routes your nervous system, it shifts gears and puts in “rest + digest mode” where relaxation, circulation, digestion and healing happens.
♦ Calm breathing is a great portable tool that you can use whenever you are feeling anxious. However, it does require some practice.
How to Do It:
Calm breathing involves taking smooth, slow, and regular breaths.
·Sitting upright is usually better than lying down or slouching, because it can increase the capacity of your lungs to fill with air.
It is best to 'take the weight' off your shoulders by supporting your arms on the side-arms of a chair, or on your lap.
1. Place one hand on your heart, the other hand on your abdomen. Take a slow breath in through the nose, breathing into your lower belly (for about 4 seconds)
2. Watch the hand on your abdomen rise as you fill your lungs with air, expanding your chest. (The hand over your heart should barely move, if at all.)
3. Hold your breath for 1 or 2 seconds
4. Exhale slowly through the mouth (for about 4 seconds)
5. Wait a few seconds before taking another breath