Be Good To Yourself! “DEEP BREATHING”
Discussed in my previous blog post were 5 tips victims and survivors of domestic violence can use to practice self-care. They were (1) Positive Affirmations, (2) Meditation, (3) Sleep, (4) Exercise, and (5) Deep Breathing.
Now focus will be on the 5th and final tip victims and survivors of domestic violence can use to practice self-care as apart of my blog “Be Good To Yourself!” blog series.
So, what is deep breathing? How often should deep breathing be practiced? How can deep breathing be good for you? What are the positive attributes of deep breathing? What can victims and survivors of domestic violence do daily to ensure they are practicing deep breathing techniques? What are the do’s and don’ts of deep breathing that victims and survivors of domestic violence can use to help them heal after experiencing all the traumatic circumstances associated with domestic violence? Read further to get the answers to the aforementioned questions.
WHAT IS DEEP BREATHING?
Deep Breathing is defined as breathing with long, breaths, especially as exercise or a method of relaxation. Deep breathing is also known as the following:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Abdominal Breathing
- Belly Breathing
- Paced Respiration
HOW OFTEN SHOULD DEEP BREATHING BE PRACTICED?
Deep breathing should be practiced daily.
HOW CAN DEEP BREATHING BE GOOD FOR YOU? WHAT ARE THE POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES OF DEEP BREATHING?
5 BENEFITS OF DAILY DEEP BREATHING EXERCISES
- Muscle Relaxation – you’ll find it’s difficult to maintain a lot of physical tension when you are breathing properly.
- Improves Oxygen Delivery – when you breath deeply and you are relaxed, fresh oxygen pours into every cell in the body. This increases the functionality of every system in the body. You will also notice improved mental concentration and physical stamina.
- Lowers Blood Pressure – as you muscles let go of tension, your blood vessels dilate and your body pressure can return to a normal level.
- Release Endorphins – deep breathing triggers the release of endorphins, which improves feelings of well-being and provides pain-relief.
HOW CAN VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING TECHNIQUES?
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., practicing a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress – related health problems ranging from panic attacks and digestive disorders. Dr. Weil says since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. Dr. Weil recommend three (3) breathing exercise and techniques to relax and reduce stress. They are as follows:
THREE (3) BREATHING EXERCISES AND TECHNIQUES
- The Stimulating Breath Exercise Technique (also called the Bellow Breath)
- The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise Technique (also called the Relaxing Breath)
- Breath Counting Exercise Technique
Try each of these breathing exercises and techniques below and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels.
The Stimulating Breath Exercise Technique (also called the Bellows Breath) is adapted from yogic breathing techniques. It aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.
- Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
- Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
- Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.
If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this diaphragmatic breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise Technique
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise Technique is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of the your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Once you develop this technique by practicing it everyday, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension or stress. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
Breath Counting Exercise Technique
If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple breathing technique much used in Zen practice.
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.
- To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
- The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five”.
- Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.
Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “8” “12”, even “19”.
Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation.
DO’S AND DON’TS OF DEEP BREATHING FOR VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF DOMESITC VIOLENCE
1. Deep breathing should be done daily at least twice a day.
2. Practice 1 of the 3 deep breathing exercise techniques such as
a. The Stimulating Breath Exercise Technique (also called the Bellow Breath
b. The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise Technique (also called the Relaxing Breath)
c. Breath Counting Exercise Technique
3. Deep breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress – related health problems ran.
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