By Paige Abbott, M.Sc., R.Psych.
Finding a moment of serenity amongst the chaos and frenzy of the holiday season can be difficult. However, it is often when we are busiest that we need these moments the most! Meditation and yoga are often talked about in terms of their potential benefits for mental and physical well-being, yet are commonly forgotten or pushed aside during moments of stress. Below is a walkthrough for a calming breath exercise that is outlined in The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne.
1. Breathing from your abdomen, inhale through your nose and count to five
2. Pause and hold your breath for five seconds
3. Exhale through your nose or mouth to a count of five
4. Take two breaths in your normal rhythm before repeating Steps 1-3
5. Breathe using Steps 1-4 for at least 3-5 minutes
6. Throughout the exercise, keep your breathing smooth and regular
Practising this exercise for a minimum of five minutes per day for two weeks can encourage calming breath as a habit and help people manage anxiety or panic attacks, as well as deal with stressful situations.