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Julie Morley MNCS, Ad.Dip.CP, Hyp.dip
Independent, NCS Advanced Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist,
Stress Consultant, Supervisor and Tutor & Lecturer in Psychotherapy
For Women
Stress and anxiety
stress and Psychotherapy

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Learning how to Breathe

SQUEEZING TECHNIQUE & BREATHING TECHNIQUES...

This exercise teaches you how to breathe correctly. Breathing incorrectly can be a habit we
get in to and this alone can cause feelings of anxiety. Being stuck breathing this way
can cause us to be unable to deal with many areas of life and we can struggle in stressful
situations and with stressful thoughts. It can cause us to have repetitive thought processes too and feelings of anxiety and depression which often go hand in hand,  are harder to eliminate when we can not breathe correctly.

Most people use upper chest breathing and this becomes a general habit but our normal way of breathing when relaxed, is to actually use little of the chest area at all but the lower belly muscles.


STEP 1
Try this squeezing relaxation exercise:-

• Focus on your feet and lower legs and squeeze all your muscles very tightly and hold it there. Then, squeeze them even tighter and hold it for a while longer.
When you cant squeeze any more, let go very fast
• Then focus on feet, lower legs and upper legs and squeeze them, hold it, and release.
• Then focus on hip area, belly, lower back, squeeze and hold it, and then release
• Then focus on upper chest and upper back, shoulders, arms and hands, squeeze, hold
and release
• Then squeeze facial muscles, neck, brows and squeeze and hold and then release.
• When comfortable repeating this, try the whole body.
This is a fast way to relax your body. After doing this exercise, it can be easier to learn the
following breathing technique.

STEP 2- BREATH WITH YOUR BELLY (and nose), NOT YOUR UPPER CHEST (and mouth)
-Lay on your back or sit in chair
-Take a deep breath, and let out slowly through your nose
-Breath a few normal breaths using your nose
-Put hand on chest the other on belly.  We are going to practice trying to breath so that only the lower hand moves up and down.
-Breath in slow and gently hold for few seconds (as long as comfortable)
-Let out the breath slowly and then at the end of your breath, push out a little more than you normally would…
-Let out a little bit more breath and gently hold for a few seconds.
-Hold for few seconds before breathing in again . See how slow you can get this process.

You might find you naturally want to take some deep breaths in between. This is fine.

Aim to see if you can get belly to raise on in the breath instead of chest (at first this feels
false).  Sometimes falsely doing the action literally in a false way can help the brain get the idea on what you are aiming for, so even if it feels faked, still do it until it can be done naturally.

If at any time it feels uncomfortable, stop for a while and wait until you feel ready to go
again. This new breathing can take weeks to learn. Practice every night before going to sleep.

(Remember, chest breathing is great when you’re exercising or talking etc)