Appreciate The Small Things In Life
Dont let anxiety ruin everything that should be enjoyable in life. Next time you engage in something you love be sure to appreciate what you are doing, even if it is something small.
When eating your favorite dessert, take the time to acknowledge everything you enjoy about it. Dont allow yourself to experience the negative thoughts that might pop into your head while eating.
For example, do you sometimes think, Im going to gain so much weight, or Im wasting money buying dessert? Thats the anxiety talking. You deserve to enjoy what you love, without the guilt anxiety brings you. Thats why its essential to enjoy the small things in life.
Even the most minor pleasures deserve to be acknowledged. Think about specific moments you cant wait to experience during the day and recognize when they happen. Personally, when the Fall season approaches, I take a moment to breathe in the crisp smell of autumn and let myself enjoy the beauty of nature.
So, next time you feel stressed or anxious, pick something that brings you joy, and let yourself feel happy as you engage in your favorite activity.
Benefits Of Deep Slow Breathing
Mindful breathing practices such as 4-7-8 breathing can produce what Harvard cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson called the relaxation response. You have a natural stress response that’s designed to help you deal with dangerous situations. This fight-or-flight response can help you survive but can take a toll on your health when it’s overused for everyday stresses.
This stress response suppresses your immune system and can cause other health problems, including high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. The relaxation response interrupts this stress response with a profound sense of rest. Other benefits may include:
Reduced anxiety. A study of college students showed that practicing pranayama reduced test anxiety in students. Another study of senior citizens showed decreased anxiety after two months of deep breathing exercises.
Lower blood pressure. Slow deep breathing for five minutes has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate in people who practice it.
Improved sleep. One of the negative side effects of stress can be trouble sleeping. It can be almost impossible to fall asleep when your body is caught up in the stress response. Practicing deep, slow breathing techniques such as 4-7-8 breathing can trigger your body’s relaxation response and help you get to sleep.
Physically Anxiety Can Appear As:
- Digestive issues
- Shortness of breath
- General bodily discomfort
There are various types of anxiety disorders, including but not limited to Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder. Not designed to be a substitute for professional treatment where required, this guide is simply meant to fill the gaps where mindfulness has been omitted from our journey towards deeper understanding of our emotions and of our anxious experiences in particular.
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Whats The Relationship Between Mindfulness And Breathing
Mindful breathing is just that allowing yourself to be mindful, or present, during the act of breathing.
It plays a key role in many forms of meditation because it may help with concentration and developing insights about yourself.
A 2017 study found that both CBT and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, which can include breathing, helped autistic people reduce anxiety and depression.
Research may also help us explain how combining mindfulness with breathing can impact the brain.
For instance, a
Even if youre not looking to improve a specific symptom, mindful breathing could help boost your mood. But mindful breathing can be used for different purposes, too.
Belly Breathing Or Diaphragmatic Breathing
Shallow breathing can limit the diaphragms range of motion, which can make you feel short of breath or anxious. Shallow breathing can also push your nervous system into a fight or flight response, making you feel tense and anxious.
Heres how to practice diaphragmatic breathing, according to stress and insomnia specialist Julia Kogan:
Once someone is comfortable with this exercise, they can increase the time of the inhale and exhale slowly, says Kogan. I recommend starting with an inhale of two seconds and exhale of three seconds because its something everyone can do, even if they have different medical conditions that may make breathing difficult.
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When To See A Doctor
If your feelings of anxiety are overwhelming and seem to be decreasing your quality of life, you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder. While symptoms of anxiety disorders vary, some signs that you could be dealing with one include:
- Constant loops of worrying that dont seem to end
- Being unable to relax
- Perpetual feelings of restlessness
- Physical symptoms such as muscle tension and a racing heart
- Feeling intense fear of certain situations
- Avoiding situations
If any of these symptoms seem familiar and ongoing, or if your worries seem to be getting in the way of your daily activities, its a good idea to talk with a mental health professional. They can help you understand where your anxiety is coming from, and can provide a diagnosis if there is an underlying condition.
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Hand Breathing Technique Video
The hand breathing technique, more popularly known as the five finger breathing strategy, is one of the most popular exercises because all you need are your hands!
Step 1: Place the index finger of one hand on the outside of the pinky finger on your other hand. As you breathe in, trace up to the tip of your pinky, and as you breathe out, trace down the inside of your pinky.
Step 2: On your next inhale, trace up the outside of your ring finger, and on the exhale, trace down the inside of your ring finger.
Step 3: Inhale and trace up the outside of your middle finger exhale and trace down the inside of your middle finger.
Step 4: Continue finger by finger until youve traced your entire hand.
Step 5: Reverse the process and trace from your thumb back to your pinky.
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Fun Mindfulness Interventions Techniques And Worksheets For Adults
There are several ways to engage in mindfulness on an individual level, including worksheets, techniques, and different exercises.
If the idea of participating in group mindfulness exercises is anxiety-provoking or stressful for yourself or your clients, then diving into mindfulness practice alone can be the best way to proceed.
Here are six exercises that can help to build mindfulness in different ways.
Best Mindfulness Meditation Scripts
The following free meditation scripts target multiple age groups, providing moments of calm and peace, a break from anxiety, and the opportunity to stay in the present.
This simple, practical, and versatile mindfulness script is valuable for evoking a mindful state in adults and is especially helpful with children.
Use it when preparing for events known to cause anxiety or for a much-needed break in times of stress.
This is a classic meditation script for bringing anyone back to the present by focusing on food: its taste, smell, and texture.
Meditation Grounding Scripts for Children
There are two versions of this practical grounding script: one for younger children and one for older. Use it to teach young people to look inside themselves for inner peace, finding calm and self-compassion.
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Breath Awareness While Waiting
Anxiety can increase when we are waiting for something to happen, whether about to speak at a presentation or simply at a stoplight .
The Breath Awareness While Waiting worksheet uses our breathing to manage those times when we have no focus and anxiety can get the better of us .
Breathing techniques help in several ways: calming the sympathetic nervous system, increasing the perception of control, and providing a focus.
The Effects Of Breathing On Your Body And Mind
Breathing influences the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of our nervous system. When you breathe really fast, your nervous system primes your body to take action in case of danger, and you become tense and anxious. If you have anxiety, you might experience shortness of breath or uncontrollable, rapid breathing . Anxiety disorders can also accelerate your heart rate and make it difficult to concentrate.
When you take time to breathe slowly and become more intentional with your breathing, you are sending a message to your brain to calm down. Deep breaths help increase the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulate the nervous system to promote a state of calm.
Practicing breathing exercises can help you control your nervous system and manage your bodyâs response to anxiety. If you can connect your mind to the way breathing affects your body, you can start changing the way you breathe and handle stressful situations. You can combine these breathing exercises with meditation practices, yoga and other relaxation techniques for added benefit. As you practice these five breathing exercises, youâll find it easier to embrace a calmer mind and reduce your anxiety.
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Mindfulness Breathing For Kids Of All Ages
Whether you have a classroom full of kindergartners or high school seniors, there are fantastic videos and resources that support mindful breathing for kids of all ages.
No matter what age group you work with, students are going to have mixed feelings about mindfulness. It might feel silly or strange, but creating a space where all kids have a chance to explore breathing exercises is important.
Benefits Of Practicing Mindfulness Breathing Exercises
Well, countless studies have shown that practicing Mindful Breathing Exercises contributes in better health, lowering anxiety & improvement in stress management skills. Besides, practicing mindfulness can help in achieving tremendous benefits:
All-in-all Mindfulness Breathing Benefits are countless, from improving mental health to physical achieving mindfulness can help in enhancing overall well-being.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Keep in mind that some stress is normal when you’re experiencing a major life change. But you may want to see a health professional for your anxiety symptoms or if you’re having frequent panic attacks.
This is especially true if your anxiety interferes with daily life. It’s also the case if your stress and anxiety are related to existing health issues or if you feel that they may be the cause of new ones.
Psychotherapy may help you better understand the cause of your stress and alleviate its symptoms. Depending on the cause of your anxiety, a healthcare provider may prescribe medication that can help, too.
Slowing Down Your Breathing
Lewis suggests that slowing down our breathing, from the typical adult at-rest rate of between 12 and 15 breaths per minute closer to 6 breaths per minute, benefits our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing and overall degree of stress.
The drop in breathing rate is considerable and should not be forced. Instead, the goal is to slow your breathing while remaining comfortable. Practice for a few minutes per day for change to take place naturally.
Your aim is simple: deepen your breathing and lengthen your exhalation to help turn on the parasympathetic nervous system, or your ârelaxation responseâ .
Lewis suggests keeping your spine erect yet supple, opening up the spaces of your body. Take deeper breaths, expanding the abdomen then chest to increase the amount of air you take in. Visualize your body filling and emptying itself of air, following each breath with your body and mind.
One way to maintain focus on the length of exhalation is through counting. Once relaxed, your breathing easy and gentle, slowly count the out-breath in your head. Then, if you can do it comfortably, try extending your next exhalation by a count of one. Keep breathing at this new count, unless you cannot easily maintain it â then reduce again by one.
Restricting the out-breath through increasingly pursed lips can also be helpful as a way of slowing exhalation. This also makes it easier to pay more attention to the sounds of the air as it escapes.
Mindfulness Techniques For Addiction
Addiction is a serious issue that should be addressed by a mental health professional or an institution that has proven effective in treating addiction. However, there are some mindfulness techniques you can use to supplement addiction management.
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Mindfulness has been shown to help those suffering from addiction by decreasing their usage and reducing the occurrence of more long-term psychiatric problems .
The practice of mindfulness increases the number and strength of connections in the brain, allowing us to become more aware of our body and more effective at regulating our emotions. It also helps individuals recognize, tolerate, and cope with negative emotions .
One mindfulness technique is specifically crafted for those suffering from cravings. There is a theory that people develop cravings through incentive sensitization, a process that occurs in four steps:
- Repeated exposure to an addictive substance results in hypersensitization, meaning that the substance or substances will have a greater effect on neurobehavioral response in the future
- Hypersensitization leads to incentive salience, a desire for the substance that is well beyond a simple preference
- The incentive salience all but guarantees the individual will repeat the behavior
- This unconscious process develops into a conscious craving for the substance.
Observe Your Thoughts For 15 Minutes
This exercise is a staple of mindfulness, designed to simply enhance your awareness of your own thoughts.
To begin, sit or lie down in a comfortable position and try to let all tension in your body dissipate. Focus on your breathing first, then move your awareness to what it feels like to be in your body, and finally move on to your thoughts.
Be aware of what comes into your head, but resist the urge to label or judge these thoughts. Think of them as a passing cloud in the sky of your mind.
If your mind wanders to chase a thought, acknowledge whatever it was that took your attention and gently guide your attention back to your thoughts.
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Try Different Breathing Patterns
There are many ways to breathe deeply, so play around to find one that feels natural to you.
Try breathing in for four counts, then out for six. Or try square breathing: in for four, hold for four, out for four, hold for four.
As long as youre still keeping your breathing slow and deep, theres no pattern thats better than the others.
Mindful Breathing Exercises To Calm Anxiety Gain Energy
Mindful breathing is a simple and powerful tool for enhancing mental health and wellbeing. While this may seem strange, mindful breathing can help anxiety in two opposing ways: It can calm the nervous system, so we feel less anxious, and it can also lead to increased energy. Breathing mindfully can both calm us down and pep us up, countering two frustrating effects of anxiety. Add these four mindful breathing exercises to your daily life for positive, anxiety-reducing benefits.
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2 Five Senses Exercise
This exercise is called âfive senses,â and provides guidelines on practicing mindfulness quickly in nearly any situation. All that is needed is to notice something you are experiencing with each of the five senses.
Follow this order to practice the Five Senses:
- Notice five things that you can see.
Look around you and bring your attention to five things that you can see. Pick something that you donât normally notice, like a shadow or a small crack in the concrete.
- Notice four things that you can feel.
Bring awareness to four things that you are currently feeling, like the texture of your pants, the feeling of the breeze on your skin, or the smooth surface of a table you are resting your hands on.
- Notice three things you can hear.
Take a moment to listen, and note three things that you hear in the background. This can be the chirp of a bird, the hum of the refrigerator, or the faint sounds of traffic from a nearby road.
- Notice two things you can smell.
Bring your awareness to smells that you usually filter out, whether theyâre pleasant or unpleasant. Perhaps the breeze is carrying a whiff of pine trees if youâre outside, or the smell of a fast-food restaurant across the street.
- Notice one thing you can taste.
Focus on one thing that you can taste right now, at this moment. You can take a sip of a drink, chew a piece of gum, eat something, notice the current taste in your mouth, or even open your mouth to search the air for a taste.