Mindful Breathing Exercise

Disclaimer: Please complete this exercise safely and to the best of your ability. If you feel that you are unable to safely complete this exercise, please refrain from participating. You may also stop at any point if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Please consult a healthcare provider if you are not sure about your ability to safely participate in this exercise.

 What happens to your breath when you get angry? Oftentimes, as a natural response to anger, our breath increases along with our heart rate. Faster breathing is associated with the survival, or the “fight, freeze or flight,” mechanism of the brain. With increased breathing, the body is aiming to provide oxygen to our system in order to get ready to fight for survival. Unfortunately, when our rate of breathing increases, the clarity of our thoughts and decision-making ability decreases.

Breathing techniques can be implemented when you are struggling with stress or anger. By completing breathing exercises, you will be able to slow down, make better decisions, and respond to stress in a calm way. Remember, if you have issues with your lungs or breathing, it is always best to consult a medical professional before doing any breathing exercises.

Practice the following breathing exercise to increase your ability to “breathe through” challenging situations:

Step One:Notice the StressNotice when stress is occurring and how it is impacting you, your body, and your breathing.
Step Two:Focus on Your BodyBring your attention to your body. Notice your breathing and how quickly your breath is accelerating. Bring your attention to your lungs. Are they flat? Is your breath rapid? Are you inflating your diaphragm?
Step Three:Take a Deep BreathTake a deep breath through your nose. Fill your lungs with air. Watch your stomach rise like a balloon. Feel your chest expand.
Step Four:Hold Your BreathHold your breath in your chest. Hold your breath until you feel as though your lungs can no longer hold it.
Step Five:ExhaleExhale your breath through your mouth. Watch your chest go down and your stomach deflate.
Step Six:Repeat the ProcessRepeat this process over until you are able to feel calm and relaxed.

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