When we're confronted with anxiety, our body undergoes several changes and we enter a special state called "fight or flight response." Our body is preparing to either fight the expected danger, or flee from the expected danger. During this special state, we could have multiple reactions: feeling sweaty, increased heart rate, tense muscles, etc. None of these help! So we have to learn to utilize techniques that will combat those fight or flight feelings. But...these techniques require practice. Don't wait until the last minute to try them!
It's natural to take long, deep breaths when we're relaxed. But when fight or flight kicks in, our instinct is to breathe shallower and more rapidly. Deep breathing sends messages to the brain that begin calming our body.
- Breathe in Slowly. Pay attention to the feeling of air filling your lungs. Count to 5.
- Hold your breath for 5-10 seconds. Make sure it doesn't feel uncomfortable (this is where the practice comes in!)
- Breathe out very slowly for another 5 seconds. Pay attention to the feeling of air leaving your lungs.
- Repeat this breathing process until you feel calm
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