Tips and Insights

Conscious Breathing

Most of us take breathing for granted, so much so, when was the last time you sat back and really thought about how you are breathing? Have you ever thought or heard someone else say “well, of course I’m breathing, or I wouldn’t be alive.” This may seem obvious, however, how often do we really pay attention to how we are breathing? Research shows that when you are anxious, your breathing becomes shallow and when your breathing becomes shallow, you can start to hyperventilate, this results in less oxygen going to your brain. At this point it can spark your mind going into overdrive, starting to feel and think the worst, which in turn feeds the feelings of anxiety, moving you closer to experiencing a ‘panic attack.’ I have personally found myself in this position on a number of occasions and a method I have used successfully, is very clearly and powerfully in your mind to shout the word STOP! This technique interrupts the thoughts and feelings that I am having and allows me to come back into the present. Once I have done this, I then focus on my breathing, taking some deep breaths in and out, increasing the flow of oxygen and bringing me into a state of controlled calmness. Research has shown that there is a very strong mind-body connection, so in addition to focussing on my breathing, I change my body position, this technique also acts as a thought interrupt and brings you back into the present.