FEELING WORRIED OR ANXIOUS? YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Even the boldest and bravest of us are affected by unknown or unpredictable things, and that’s how life seems at the moment.
So, what can you do to relax? One simple and easy technique is to breathe. Simple as it sounds, it helps. If you can control your breathing when you are feeling apprehensive, you can take charge of your thoughts and feelings.
HERE’S WHY BREATHING IS CALMING:
Your heart beats around 115,000 times a day and even more when you are anxious or worried. When your heart races; everything quickens. Your thoughts go into overdrive, your breathing becomes short and shallow and you have butterflies in your stomach. Sometimes you feel sick.This is part of our body’s response to keep us safe from dangerous situations. For our ancestors, a dangerous situation may have been a lion in a bush, our bodies had to prepare for us to run away and a quick heart rate and breathing can help us run faster. Today, we are unlikely to need to run away from a lion, but an exam, an argument, or even going outside for some people, can create the same response. Our brain reacts to these modern stresses in the same way it reacted to the ancient stress of a lion.
Do you recognise any of these symptoms? You are not alone. It’s perfectly natural to feel stressed sometimes and its meant to feel uncomfortable so that we pay attention to whatever is making us stressed.
When we are relaxed however, our bodies respond differently. Our heart rate is slower, and our breath is slow and deep. Think about how your body changes when you are falling asleep. Breathing is a good way to send a message to our brain to calm down and relax. If we have time to breathe slowly and deeply, we are obviously not running away from a lion! The brain then sends this message to your body, our heart rate slows, and the other symptoms of anxiety improve as well.
TRY IT OUT FOR YOURSELF!
First find a quiet, safe place where you can be alone. Either sit or lie down. You could also play some soothing music quietly in the background and reduce the light if this helps you create a calm atmosphere. The only thing you have to do now is remember the magic combination and breathe.
Next you’ll need two numbers. The first number will be the number that you use for breathing in and the second will be for breathing out. If you have no breathing issues, your numbers are 7 : 11. If you do have asthma or any other breathing conditions, then reduce these numbers. Try 4 : 7 to start with, and adjust up or down to suit you. The important thing is that breathing in for a shorter period than breathing out slows your heart rate.
If at any point in this exercise, you feel unwell, then please STOP. If this persists, seek help.
Now, breathe in through your nose if possible; if not through your mouth. As you breathe in count to 7 in your head. Think of the breath filling the whole of your body, feel your chest and belly expand with each breath. Then slowly breathe out, counting to 11 in your head.
Repeat this cycle six times (about two minutes). See how you feel. If all is fine, repeat for another two minutes.
After you’ve completed six cycles, observe what’s happened. Your heart rate and your breathing will have slowed, along with your thoughts. You will feel CALM. If you find your thoughts wandering whilst breathing, then bring your mind back to your breath. Imagine it filling your body with fresh, clean, healing air as you inhale; imagine all the thoughts and feelings that do not serve you, leaving your mind and body and disappearing into the distance as you exhale. Try to do this at least once a day or whenever you are feeling anxious or worried.
There are also plenty of free Apps available to help you relax, to feel calm and to meditate. Below are just a few:
Stop, Breathe and Think Kids
Did you find this exercise helpful? Why not share it with your friends? It’s good to talk!
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