Deep Breathing

Take a deep breath. 

 

Did you do it? I’ve practiced deep breathing so many times I don’t even think about it anymore. Someone takes a deep breath and I do it too!  

 

Have you ever felt stressed or upset and found yourself taking a really big sigh? Or when you’re getting ready to do something hard, have you noticed yourself taking a deep breath to prepare? How about when you get pumped up for something? How do you breathe then?

 

When we take quick, shallow breaths it signals our bodies that we need to be on alert, to get ready.  When we take deep breaths it signals our bodies that we are safe and can be calm. This is how God designed our bodies. It’s pretty amazing! 

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Look at all the bodily systems involved in the stress response. We can’t control our gut or our heart, but we can control our breath. 

 

Many people might already know that you can work to control your thoughts and that will calm the rest of your body. Actually, it works the other way also! If you work to calm your body, that will help calm your thoughts. 

 

So take a deep breath. 

 

Put one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. The hand on your belly should move and your shoulders should stay lowered. 

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Make your exhale longer than your inhale. 

 

Take a deep breath., in through your nose. Like you’re smelling your favorite hot beverage . Now let it out slowly through your mouth. Like you’re blowing on your drink to cool it down (not like blowing out a candle, take your time letting that breath go). 

 

Check with your body to see how it feels. If the breathing does not make you feel more relaxed, try checking to see if you exhaled slowly (pursing your lips can help). The more you practice the easier it will get. Pretty soon you’ll be like me, taking a breath without even having to think about, right when you need it. 

 

If this doesn’t work for you, don’t stress. There are additional ways to help your body relax. Here are some resources you can use until you get the hang of it. Explore what works best for you. 

  • Apps

    • Calm

    • Stress Scan - check your pulse, take some deep breaths and see what happens

    • Headspace

  • You Tube

  • Use a blood pressure cuff or pulse oximeter to track how you pulse and blood pressure change when taking several deep breaths. 

Amanda Walters (licensed clinical professional counselor) and Kim Baldwin (licensed clinical psychologist and marriage & family therapist) have been working together to provide us with some tips for how to keep you, your family, and friends mentally healthy. Please check in for regular updates about different topics.

 

If you have a particular topic you would like to see them talk about, please use this form to share your idea.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call Emergency Services at 9-1-1 or PATH Crisis at 2-1-1.

Additional (Non-Emergency) Rescources available in Bloomington/Normal can be found by following this link.

Other Entries

Move Your Body

Deep Breathing

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call Emergency Services at 9-1-1 or PATH Crisis at 2-1-1.

Additional (Non-Emergency) Rescources available in Bloomington/Normal can be found by following this link.