by Beth Haley
Breathing retraining is changing the way in which we breathe. Many times we breathe shallowly, only feeling our chest and shoulders rise and fall. In breathing retraining, you learn to breathe deeper through your abdomen or diaphragm. Doing this reduces heart rate and symptoms of anxiety, while changing the ratio of carbon dioxide to oxygen in your bloodstream.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is another common anxiety-management skill involving tensing and relaxing your muscles which helps you notice the difference between holding tension in your muscles and having relaxed muscles.
Before doing this exercise, rate your stress or anxiety level on a scale from 0 to 10 (where 0 means relaxed and 10 means stressed or anxious) and again after this exercise, and see if you notice a difference.
In a comfortable position, put your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen. Slow and deepen your breathing. Feel the hand on your abdomen rise and fall, more so than the hand on your chest. Just focus on how it feels to draw in the air and exhale it.
As you inhale, think, RE. And as you exhale say, LEASE.
While you’re doing this, just let stressful or anxious thoughts come and go, and simply focus on inhaling and exhaling with RE and then LEASE.
Happy releasing! 🤩