How to do Abdominal Breathing

When we're stressed and/or anxious our breathing often changes without our realizing it! Often we breathe in a shallow way (chest breathing) that can cause anxiety and sometimes panic to emerge. Changing the breath can change how you feel. Follow this simple, easy to do, and effective breathing technique to gain control of your anxiety, panic, or stress. It will also help you to be more present within your own body.

1. Posture: Allow yourself to sit upright with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. You may also do this lying flat on your back.

2. Hand Placement: Place one hand on your chest and another on your stomach, roughly over your belly-button.

Conscious Breathing: Take a few relaxing breaths (3-5), just noticing the rising and falling of your two hands

Breathe In: After the 3-5 breaths, take a breath in through the nose and intentionally push out your stomach, away from your spine. Make sure that when you do this your top hand remains motionless and your bottom hand is moving forward.

5. Breathe Out: When you exhale, breathe out through your mouth and push out any remaining air by bringing your stomach in, back toward the spine. You may even want to gently push in with your bottom hand. Again, make sure that your top hand remains motionless.

6. Repeat: Do this at least 10 times until you begin to feel a change in your body, your breathing, and your overall state.
  • Once you do get accustomed to this way of breathing, you will no longer have to use your hands as guides.
  • The more conscious you are of your breath, the more mindful you will become in general.
  • Use this breathing technique before any relaxation/meditation technique you may like.
  • Breathe at your own pace.
  • As a way to increase mindfulness, see how many times throughout your day you are breathing in without taking a full breath. Every time you catch yourself breathing in that way, take two mindful abdominal breaths.
  • Check with your doctor if you have any respiratory issues that you feel need to be addressed before taking on any breathing technique.
Happy breathing!

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