When we are stressed or anxious, fearful or worried, our body can be flooded with the ‘stress hormone’ (cortisol), amongst other things.
While stress, anxiety, fear or worry can be an appropriate response to some situations, at times these feelings can be disproportionate to our situation or can stay triggered long after external events calm down.
Belly breathing is a breathing technique that can help us reduce our feelings of stress, anxiety, fear or worry, that can help us begin to feel calmer and more grounded, and can help our body return to its pre-stressed state.
Want to try belly breathing?
Ideally, do this sitting or lying down, but if your only option is standing, that will work too.
Without changing your breathing, notice where your breath goes in your body. The easiest way to do this is to notice which parts of your body move as you breathe in and out.
Place your hands on your belly.
Now breath in and out so that only your belly moves in and out/up and down.
Concentrate so that your shoulders do not move up and down or your chest does not move in and out.
It can help to look in a mirror when you are learning this to see if your chest and shoulders are moving.
Continue belly breathing for a minute and see if you feel any calmer.
See if you can get into the practice of belly breathing for a minute in bed before you go to sleep and before you get up.