3 Minutes Peaceful Breaths: Mindful Breathing for Anxiety in Kids I Calmer classrooms
What is “Calm Breathing”?
Calm breathing is a technique that helps you slow down your breathing when feeling stressed or anxious. Newborn babies naturally breathe this way, as do singers, wind instrument players, and yoga practitioners.
Why is Calm Breathing Important?
Our breathing changes when we feel anxious. We tend to take short, quick, shallow breaths or even hyperventilate; this is called “over breathing”.
It is a good idea to learn techniques for managing “over breathing”, because this type of breathing can actually make you feel even more anxious (e.g. due to a racing heart, dizziness or headaches).
Calm breathing is a great portable tool that you can use whenever you are feeling anxious. It does require some practice.
How to Do Calm Breathing
Calm breathing involves taking smooth, slow and regular breaths. Sitting upright is usually better than lying down or slouching, because it can increase the capacity of your lungs to fill with air. It is best to 'take the weight' off your shoulders by supporting your arms on the side-arms of a chair, or on your lap.
Take a slow breath in through the nose, breathing into your lower belly (for about 4 seconds)
Hold your breath for 1 or 2 seconds
Exhale slowly through the mouth (for about 4 seconds)
Wait a few seconds before taking another breath
About 6-8 breathing cycles per minute is often helpful to decrease anxiety but find your own comfortable breathing rhythm. These cycles regulate the amount of oxygen you take in so that you do not experience the fainting, tingling and giddy sensations that are sometimes associated with over breathing.
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