How do you relax yourself in the moment? How do you self soothe? What's the first step that you take?
I'm sure you've heard the advice to "take a deep breath” or “just keep breathing”.
This is useful...but I think its helpful to add a little more context to it.
For some people, simply taking a deep breath works really well.
But for others, including me for a long time, it doesn’t really help how you are feeling about the situation at hand. It would basically just get me to stop talking. However, I've come to find that the more I understand how to use my breath, the easier it is for me to use it as a calming tool.
Did you know that depending on the way that you take your deep breath, you can calm or excite your nervous system?
Let me show you!
Breathe with me…
Start by inhaling counting to 4 and then exhaling counting to 4...
Do that a few times. Once you feel comfortable, move to the next breath pattern.
Notice what happens when you inhale counting to 5 and exhale counting to 2…
Do that a few times. Notice how that feels.
Now, take note of what happens when you inhale counting to 4 and exhale counting to 6…
Do that a few times. Soak in that breathing pattern for a bit.
Notice how that feels.
Once you are finished, keep reading
Chances are, you noticed that when you inhale longer than you exhale, your body gets more tense and amped up. Hopefully you also noticed that when you exhale longer than you inhale, your body induces calming, self-soothing energy to relax you.
So, if we are going to use breathing as a self-soothing tool, we have to keep remembering this:
You can inhale for long as you want but you're going to want to make your exhale even longer in order to actually slow things down.
Try this out next time you’re dealing with a stressful situation, need help calming your "mental gymnastics", or simply need to relax.
I hope this helps!
Bookmark this page to come back to it whenever you need some help slowing things down
& send to someone that you love that could benefit from reading this! :)