Just Breathe

Breathing sounds simple. We all do it. 

But when we face challenges and triggers, our breathing is the first thing that gets messed up. 

You may have even noticed that when you are struggling in a crisis, your breathing becomes short and choppy. And it’s worse for those of us who struggle with panic attacks, where it’s not uncommon to find ourselves hyperventilating.

One of the keys that my team and I practice is recognizing when we are starting to struggle and making a change to ourselves. Your breath and your mind are so connected that if you can adjust your breathing, you can begin to change your thinking. The simplest method for changing your breathing is to practice diaphragmatic breathing. 

Here’s how it works:

    1. Find Your Most Comfortable Position:
      While some may find it more comfortable to stand, most people have better results when they find a relaxed spot to sit or lie down. If you can find a nice chair or a bed, that’s great! But if you don’t have that option, you can lean against a wall or other solid surface.
    2. Use Your Hands To Feel Your Breathing:
      When you’re first getting started it can be hard to tell if you’re doing it right.  So to start, place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, just below your ribcage. You’ll be able to tell you are doing it when you feel your hand on your belly puff out like an inflating balloon.
    3. Breathe In Slowly Through Your Nose:
      Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. Focus on expanding your abdomen with your breath. To help slow your breathing down, you can hold your breath for a couple seconds once you can’t inhale any more.
    4. Exhale Gradually Through Your Mouth:
      Exhale slowly and gently through your mouth. Let your abdomen naturally fall as you breathe out. Your exhale should last longer than your inhale. 
    5. Develop a Rhythm:
      Your first few breaths might be more rushed, and that’s okay. As you continue, your breathing should relax. The deep breathing pattern, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, naturally causes your muscles and your brain to relax. To get the best results, try to spend 5-10 minutes practicing diaphragmatic breathing. 

This isn’t a cure all. But it can be an effective tool in your mental health toolbox.

As you practice, it’ll become more comfortable to use whenever you need to relax or manage stress. And you’ll probably find, as I have, that changing your breathing can change your mind. 


If any of this has resonated with you, I want you to know that you are welcome to come sit by our fireplace and talk. 

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13575 E 104th Ave., Suite 300, Commerce City, CO 80022

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