When there's a threat to our health and safety like the coronavirus, our brains are hard at work trying to keep us safe, and one way your brain has of doing that is through the fight, flight, or freeze response, which does things like quicken your heartbeat and your breathing so that you can respond really quickly to any physical threats. This is what fight, flight, or freeze breathing looks like. Notice the hand on my chest rising falling rather quickly as I take those breaths.
While this response is normal, it isn't very helpful during a long lasting public health crisis that requires us to stay calm and mostly indoors. Taking quick shallow breaths over a longer period of time can make your body and your anxiety feel worse. The first step towards healthy restorative breathing is mindfulness.
Throughout your day, take moments to notice how you're breathing. Is your breathing quick and shallow, or are you taking slower, deeper breaths? Next, take a few minutes for some slow, deep breathing. First, get into a comfortable position. You can close your eyes if you'd like. Next, take a slow deep breath in through your nose for around five seconds.
Let the air fill your belly and picture that clean air filling your entire body with calm. Hold that for just a few moments and then breathe out even more slowly for around seven seconds, picturing any anxiety leaving your body with the air. I'm going to invite you to take two, slow, deep breaths along with me, and as you do, I invite you to place one hand on your stomach so that you can feel that hand rise as you take a breath in and fall as you take a breath out.
Once again, find a nice comfortable position, and feel free to close your eyes if you'd like. And now, I invite you to take a deep breath in through your nose for around five seconds, letting it fill your belly and your entire body with calm. Hold that for just a moment, and now breathe out even more slowly for a count of seven, picturing any anxiety leaving your body with the air. Very good.
We're going to do one more, breathing in slowly through your nose for around five seconds, letting it sell your body with calm. Hold that for just a moment and now breathe out even more slowly for seven seconds, picturing any anxiety leaving your body with the air.
Feel free to call our relaxation hotline at 718-920-CALM, or 2256 to access a three minute relaxing breathing exercise, along with many other relaxation strategies. Take a few minutes for deep breathing several times a day. You deserve it.