Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing usually involves three steps:
1. Inhaling through your nose using your diaphragm
2. Holding your breath for a number of seconds
3. Exhaling through your mouth.

Deep breathing is accomplishing by using your abdomen (or diaphragm) to inhale (breath in). Using your abdomen will enable you to fill up your entire lungs. You will notice movement of your stomach when you breathe deeply. This is opposed to shallow breathing when you take short breaths using your chest muscles and your chest rises and falls.

Think of filling up a balloon. When you inhale the balloon expands and your stomach moves outward. When you exhale or breathe out the balloon shrinks and your stomach moves inward.

First practice your breathing so that you become comfortable with the deep breathing process. You can easily check to see if you are breathing correctly by watching the movement of your stomach. When sitting, you stomach moves out when you inhale or breathe in and moves inward when you exhale.

Another way to practice is to lie down and place something on your stomach. Your stomach will rise when you inhale and drop when you exhale.

After you are comfortable with the breathing, then focus on the amount of time you take to breathe in, hold your breath, and breathe out. There are variations of this approach. A common one is 5-5-5. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and breathe out for 5 seconds. Experiment with the times, especially the time you take to exhale, the longer the better.

Use your imagination to enhance your experience by: * Adding a relaxing word like Calm, Relax, or Peace. * Add a two part phrase, one for inhaling and another for exhaling * Imagine inhaling something soothing and exhaling stress

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