Deep breathing techniques are a good place to start to help control the symptoms of stress, anxiety, overwhelm and anger.
The skill is easy to learn, and provides near immediate relief from uncomfortable symptoms. As the name suggests, deep breathing works by taking slow, deep breaths, to trigger the body's relaxation response.
When doing deep breathing, a handy rule of thumb is: short inhales with long exhales help to calm, long inhales with shorter exhales help to energize and feel less "stuck". So for example, if you are feeling anxious and stressed, breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4, breathing out for 8 seconds can help to calm the anxious feelings.
On the flip side, if you are feeling stuck, unmotivated, and generally down in the dumps, inhaling for 8 seconds, holding for 4, exhaling for 4 can start to help pull you out of the slump.
This Deep Breathing worksheet includes an easy-to-follow set of instructions, along with the reasoning behind the exercise, tips, and common pitfalls to avoid.
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