This week I have been mostly learning to Breathe

“Your breathing all wrong”

How in the hell can I be breathing wrong, it is the most natural thing we do, it is the only thing I do without having to think about it.

This is just another task to add to the list of things I can’t do properly, my wife is going to love this one!!!

So apparently breathing isn’t as easy as breathing in and out.

Its just one of the things I missed in my self, but is apparently easily recognised in someone with high anxiety/stress. I breathe short only filling my chest and lungs, missing the full belly breath which is especially practiced in Yoga type exercises ( I wouldn’t know this, as a Yorkshire man yoga is not my cup of tea).

The time it is most noticeable is at night, getting off to sleep is mostly OK but I wake up around 2-3 am with what feels like an Elephant on my chest, my breathing is rapid and short in depth and it takes some real concentration to get it to settle. Apparently this is due to being hyper-vigilant all the time constantly assessing risks after years of working in such a heightened state.

In my job roles over the years one thing was for sure, no day was they same and you never knew what could happen from one minute to the next. One minute you could be de-escalating an aggressive situation the next you could be dealing with an attempted suicide, your body and mind gets used to being constantly aroused. Your body produces high levels of cortisol and all your fight and flight mechanisms are active, trying to come down from these was at times impossible, maybe that is why a stiff drink was quite common post shift.

So here are some tips I was given

Step 1: Get in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

Step 2: Breathe in normally through your nose, and hold it for 3 seconds.

Step 3: Exhale out slowly and smoothly through your mouth.

The key to this technique is exhaling all of the air out of your lungs very slowly. 

Concentrate on taking breaths right down to your stomach, or “belly breathing.” To help you do this, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. If you are doing the exercise correctly, only the hand on your stomach will rise and fall as you inhale and exhale.

Set aside three times each day to practice.

Practice the breathing retraining for at least 5–10 minutes each time.

Great tips from – https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com

In practice this is hard I try to set about five minutes laying on the floor, I put on some quiet music and give it a go. Five minutes feels like a long time, so keep practicing.

I have roped in my middle and youngest children to take part, as we know children are needing help to build up skills to help with increased stresses at school. I like this time as Aron our Youngest has been struggled with nervousness at school and will come into my room on a morning and tell me he is feeling sick most days. Interestingly he really struggles with this exercise, which encourages me to do it more.

As the Title says, a throw back from the Fast show – This week (and next week and the one after) I will mostly be learning to breathe.

Take time to give it a go and let me know how you get on.

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