If you think about it we were never taught to breath, isn’t that strange? We have been living out our whole lives without the basic instructions on how to breathe properly. Isn’t that shocking? Most of us breathe like little chipmunks that are being chased by Mr. Twinkles the neighborhood cat. That type of breathing is fight or flight, or panic breathing. We are all running from Mr. Twinkles in our own way throughout the day.
Some examples of using panic breathing would be:
- Rush hour traffic someone cuts you off.
- The boss yells at you in front of your whole team.
- Your child runs into the street.
- You have a confrontation with a co-worker, friend, or spouse that erupts into a full fledged argument.
- You are in pain from a stomach ache, injury or severe illness.
In all the instances we are usually taking very short and shallow breathes that only worsen the circumstance or situation. So what can we do? We can learn to breath properly. Here are some steps to proper breathing and recognizing the warning signs of panic breathing.
- Your body tenses up, clenched fist, or clenched jaws.
- Your sweating, shaking, tensed in the neck or shoulders.
- You have body aches in neck, shoulders, or hands.
- You have stomach aches, ulcers, or allergies.
- Trouble eating, sleeping, relaxing.
The signs are there and I recognize them, now what do I do?
- Stop and check in with yourself. Become aware of the signals you are receiving.
- Excuse yourself from the circumstance or situation and find a quiet corner.
- Exhale all the breath from your body and let your head, shoulders and stomach relax.
- Take a long, slow, deep breath and do this several times.
- On your exhale try saying to yourself, “In, I’m breathing in. Out, I’m breathing out.”
- Notice the minds casting about habit to find ways that it may make itself right. It may use tactics that include saying things like this: “He was wrong and treated me with disrespect!” “That jackass cut me off. He’s going to kill someone!” “No one can treat me like this, I’m going to report that jerk!”
- Gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
- Repeat until calm and don’t give in to the minds demands.
This is not about pushing these feelings or emotions down, or to be in denial of your personal rights, freedoms etc. This is about calming the ego/mind before you respond using your emotions, rather than calm reason. This is about creating a platform for a proper response. The concept I’m presenting here is about not been run by the emotional outbursts that our ego may throw out there to defend itself. We are calming the mind in order to relax back into our natural state of being before we respond or act on impulse.