Understandably, there is much fear and anxiety suffered due to the terrible Coronavirus spreading across the globe. The threat is real and you should respect all safety precautions. However, the fear and anxiety can be controlled if not fully eradicated.
Here is an easy breathing exercise to help you through this time of fear and anxiety. First, it is okay to be anxious. I was, and still am at times, but I managed to deal with it using techniques from my many years as a psychotherapist.
Feelings of fear and anxiety can sometimes be lifesaving. They are nature’s way of alerting us to act physically and mentally to real and perceived threats. However, we can use techniques to overcome the fear, feel calm, and still act in a way appropriate to the threat – in this case the virus that is impacting our lives in so many ways.
You, your partner, family and friends can start using these techniques today. kids especially love it. Practice with them, and watch them reap the benefits.
Ideally, you should practice when lying down, but even by sitting in a comfortable place you can achieve beneficial results. Use the floor, bed, or couch. Once settled and relaxed, rest your hands lightly over your belly – or ‘six-pack’ for those with more lean and muscular physiques. Your hands will serve as a check as to whether you have taken the full breath correctly.
Many people have got into the habit of breathing air into the upper chest then unconsciously tightening the chest muscles. Wrong! Just like these exclamation marks, this heightens anxiety!
Instead, breathe deeply through your nostrils, not your mouth, and take the breath through your chest and as if down into your belly. On the full breath (see diagram below) you will feel your belly rise beneath your hands. Gently push your hands up. You will feel the sides of your bottom ribs expand. This will prove to you have made the full correct breath.
Next, gently breathe out from the belly up. Don’t collapse your chest; just allow the breath to come up from your belly, up into the chest, along the throat, and out through your nostrils. Repeat, but never strain.
This form of breathing is calming and works wonders for your mind and body. You may have to practice a few times, but you will benefit greatly once you’ve mastered it.
Do this gently. Do not hold your breath or strain. People with respiratory problems or hypertension should be particularly careful. Also, do not try this whilst standing since the relaxation may lead to a fall.
This style of breathing will come naturally with a little practice and help lower and control your blood pressure. The rewards of correct breathing are remarkable, and can reduce anxiety, aid digestion and bowel movement, and sometimes improve memory function.
I hope you find this simple breathing exercise useful. Over the coming weeks, I will post more professional advice on how to cope with the stress of this troubling time. If you want to find out more about me and my work, then visit the Katy Walters Website. Please keep yourself safe.