As a personal trainer, as someone who powerlifts, as someone who is very physically active, I know the importance of proper breathing. It should be simple, right? After all, its not something you have to concentrate on in your daily activities. You just do it.
But there is a tremendous power, a tremendous visualization that can happen when you sit down in quiet and concentrate on your breath. With deep and focused breathing there is a oneness and awareness with you and your surroundings that takes place that can take you from panic to peace in a matter of minutes.
As someone who has battled anxiety for all of my adult life I have used the technique below with great success. Do not let the simplicity fool you. It is powerful and just like a new exercise at the gym you are unfamiliar with at first, the more you practice it the better you will get at it.
- Find a quiet spot, free of distractions, free of noise.
- Sit comfortably straight with your feet on the floor.
- With your eyes closed, breath normally, focusing on your breath. Breathe in through the nose and out the mouth. Pay attention to the sensation of air coming in and then going out of your body. Pay attention to the space you occupy and where you are right now.
- First breath – As you breathe in we begin to ground your own energy. Some people choose to breathe normally, I choose to breathe in more deeply. It is your choice. Simply saying your name in your head to yourself or thinking about the person you truly are or want to be can be very centering. Take a moment and think of just you and the energy you bring to the world.
- 2nd breath – As you breath out think about an issue that has been bugging you, draining you of focus, distracting you from functioning optimally. Maybe it is a problem with a boss who is not understanding or maybe that boss chewed you out the day before for no reason. Maybe you had a fight with a loved one or spouse and said something you regretted. Find something that you feel a need to let go of. While breathing out, imagine this problem leaving your body through your breath. With each breath out the issue becomes smaller, weaker and less significant. I often picture my breath leaving me in color. Sometimes its red, sometimes its blue or some other color.
- 3rd breath – This one was the most difficult for me. Here we think of something we want and “breathe it in” to our body, our whole being. This could be more time to do something you love, a weight loss, more money, a new job, etc. Think of this item and how it will make you feel to be in possession of it. Do not feel guilty for wanting it, this is something I battled with for years. You are worth it and are deserving.
My personal preference is to practice each breathe individually first. At the end I will go through all three in sequence.
Example – First breath, I concentrate on just the grounding piece. I do not concentrate on the exhale. I do this 5 or 6 times or more and then move onto Second breath. On the second breath I just focus on the exhale. I do not pay attention to the inhale portion. I do this 5 or more times and move onto Third breath and do it in the same manner. After I have done all three and bring it all together. I breathe in and ground, breathe out and let go and breathe in again to ask for something I aim to achieve.
Feel free to practice it any variety of ways and make it your own. The adaptability and freedom of creativity make it a favorite of mine.
Try and practice this daily. It might be a struggle at first but with time the issue you are battling should seem less worrisome. As your anxiety goes down your creative juices will increase and you will find yourself most likely coming up with more solutions than you had otherwise realized. Give it a shot, let me know if there are any questions and I am eager to hear if others have had similar success with it.