Mindful Breathing Practice

Tucson, AZ:

Welcome to Jaguar Coaching! It’s the first day of Spring, in the northern hemisphere; there is a spirit of new beginnings. And everything starts with a breath.

The easiest, quickest way to get grounded, get focused or even get out of a panic attack is to simply sit and breathe, making sure a) there’s no clothing restriction preventing you from taking in a deep belly breath, so, loosen your belt or wear something with an elastic waistband, and b) breathe in and out, always making your exhale longer than your inhale. You don’t have to close your eyes; it doesn’t matter where you sit, as long as you are comfortable.

One of my clients shared this video with me, which helped her get started with mindful breathing. It’s a helpful image to watch, just to get the hang of what it means to breathe this way.

When I worked as a therapist on the PTSD Treatment Team at the VA, we were trained to offer mindful breathing as the first technique to reduce stress. I can’t tell you how many crusty, competent Veterans looked at me with great skepticism, if not scorn, when I told them that mindful breathing could reduce their stress just enough to help them start to solve their problems on their own, instead of being clobbered by PTSD symptoms left and right. I also can’t tell you how many returned to my office and told me the breathing exercise worked! Why? The brain ALWAYS thinks it’s relaxed when the exhale is longer than the inhale; this is the opposite of fight-of-flight breathing, which is rapid and stressful and like what you feel in a panic attack. Your over-worked, stressed out, over-thinking brain is tricked by the fundamentals of human physiology.

So whether you use the video link above, or investigate on your own the many resources out there about mindful breathing, get started and find yourself moving through stressful situations…..rather than getting stuck in them! Use this tool!

Thank you to all my clients for sharing what works!