There is one "best" thing in the world to help reduce anxiety, to increase mental clarity and ability to focus, and for increased general well-being: Deep Breathing!
You can live for days without food, up to a month, approximately 44,640 minutes.
You can live for days with water, up to a week, approximately 10,080 minutes or more.
But you can only live for 3 to 5 MINUTES -- without OXYGEN!
Deep breathing is IMPORTANT...
Yet, most of us are unable to spend more than a few minutes bringing our awareness to our breath. And this is usually only during a "sigh" or the point in the day when the stress of the day was too great that we take what we think is a healthy deep breath. The problem is usually with the mechanics or "way" we take that deep breath.
Granted any extra oxygen that enters the system is going to be somewhat beneficial and potentially reduce anxiety or center you, that is as long as you are not hyperventilating.
How to deep breathe:
The most important aspect of deep breathing is making sure when taking an "in-breath" that your stomach is extended outward. Your diaphragm, the main muscle for breathing will be contracted. When you breath out, the diaphragm will be relaxed, and your stomach will move in. It is most important to focus your awareness on this in/out movement of your breath and your diaphragm. If you notice, the "in" breath happens when your stomach is moving out, and when your stomach moves in you should be exhaling the breath "out." So one way to picture this is with a +/- vs -/+. There are never two "+'s," i.e. NEVER an in-breath/in-stomach, nor two "-'s," i.e. NEVER an out-breath/out-stomach.
It is ALWAYS one or the other but NEVER both "ins" or both "outs"...
In stomach - Out Breath, +/-
Out stomach - In Breath, -/+
Out Stomach - In Breath, -/+
In Stomach - Out Breath, +/- but NEVER +/+ or -/-
This may seem difficult to control in the beginning but after time and some perseverance you will be able to re-establish a healthy breathing pattern that will last throughout the day and there is a lot more to learm but this is the "best" place to start.
You should try to learn to deep breath the same way you attempt to learn a new language or to play a musical instrument: Multiple (3-5 times) short (2-5 minutes) per day.
By Mathew Quaschnick
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UPTOWN THERAPY MPLS
Edited and composed by Mathew Quaschnick
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