The One Thing You Can Do Right Now to Deal with Anxiety

What's the one thing you can always do to get some relief from stress and anxiety?

0

What’s the One Thing You Can Always Do to Get Some Calm?

Before we begin, please note: This post is NOT a means of diagnosis or providing a treatment plan.  If your experiences of anxiety or stress are acute, intolerably intense, ongoing or unmanageable, please consult a trusted medical and/or mental health professional.

Take deep breaths.

But hang on!  I know you’ve heard this countless times before but maybe I can offer some insights that can help.

A few years ago, I was getting a massage and the massage therapist had put her hand on my stomach and told me to take a deep breath.

I took, what I thought, was a BIG and DEEP breath.  But the massage therapist was quick to point out that my breath wasn’t really all that deep at all.

In fact, she observed that my supposed deep breath only went as far as my upper chest and nowhere near my belly.  If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you know that they keep instructing you to take “belly breaths”.

So here’s an idea: Just because you might think you’re taking deep breaths, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are. Especially if you have a tendency to worry, to be stressed or to be anxious.

One indication that you might not be taking effective breaths is if it’s challenging for you to feel calmer after taking a few deep breaths.

You’ve probably gotten into the habit of taking shallow breaths over time and might not have realized that your breathing is not optimal.

Afterall, how often have you thought about the quality of how you breathe?

But here’s a very significant reason why it’s important to know how to get the real depth in your breath: When you breathe from a shallow place (a quick breath or a breath that internally stops above your stomach), it’s signaling to your brain that you need quick access to oxygen.

From an evolutionary standpoint, as far as our brains are concerned, quick breaths means that you need the breath to do something quickly… That you’re trying to run from something… like when we’d been attacked or if there was a lion or a tiger chasing us.

We would need to be able to get our breath as quickly as possible so that we could run and get away.  Survival with a capital S is the name of the game.

Whereas, if you’re taking deep breaths from deep within, it means that you’re in a more relaxed state. Which then signals to the brain that you’re not in danger.

One of the problems with modern day society is that we have learned to feel a constant level of stress that can feel like being in some kind of danger, the kind of danger that can feel like the need to go into Survival Mode to the brain.

This level of elevated alert can cause chronic anxiety and stress happening bodily within you. So when you’re able to take those deep breaths, you’ll be able to signal to your brain that you’re not, in fact, in danger and that your brain will prompt the rest of your body that you can calm down.

You’re also providing the much-needed oxygen throughout your body, as well as providing oxygen to your brain.

With more oxygen, both your brain and body will be able to function more efficiently.

So what do we do to learn how to take deeper breaths?

Firstly, however, it’s important to know that it’s not going to happen in one day.  Just like any other habit, it’s going to take some time to learn a new way of breathing.

And like being able to have better habits in other ways, when you are able to breathe more deeply, you will be able to use your breath efficiently when you need it. You’ll also be able to take those deep breaths to signal to your brain that it’s ok for you to not be in Survival Mode and calm down.

The better you can be at calming yourself through your breath, the more your breath will be available to you whenever you need it.

Ok, so how do we do practically do that?

First of all, take a 3-Day Deep Breathing Challenge. For the next 3 days, first thing in the morning, maybe even before you get out of bed, take 10 deep breaths.

Be conscious and intentional about getting your breath as deep into your body as possible and try to get it way, way down.  Think about trying to get your breath down to your toes.

For instance:
• Inhale for 4 counts through the nose.
• Hold the breath for 4 counts.
• Exhale for 4 counts out through the mouth.


Even this Navy SEAL practices box breathing.

For the next three days, complete this challenge first thing in the morning for 10 breaths.

Bonus points if you also incorporate it into the rest of your day!

Try it now:
• Inhale for 4 counts through the nose.
• Hold the breath for 4 counts.
• Exhale for 4 counts out through the mouth.

You’re giving precious oxygen to your brain, as well as the rest of your body.

Not only will this help to calm you, your brain and body now has more of a critical resource to operate better.

Now that you have the hang of it, complete the 3-Day Deep Breathing Challenge.

And if it’s something that you can challenge yourself to do, keep going for 5 days or even 10 days. The longer you are able to go, the more you will master the ability to use your breath as a tool for instant calm.

Your breath will be there for you, when something stressful is happening or you just need to take a mental time out to oxygenate your brain and body.

I hope that you decide and continue to cultivate the ability to deep breathe because you will have one more tool in your toolbox to go to when you need it.

This post is NOT a means of diagnosis or providing a treatment plan.  If your experiences of anxiety or stress are acute, intolerably intense, ongoing or unmanageable, please consult a trusted medical and/or mental health professional.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.