The simplest & easiest ways usually appeal to me, ‘cz they’re short, direct and powerful – all anyone generally needs. Practiced a few minutes daily [3-5 minutes several times a day and one longer daily period, 10/15/20 minutes], is really life changing. Soon you’ll be able to practice while you’re doing other things, and with other people around – they won’t usually notice or care about how you’e breathing, and you can have a special secret if you like.
I suggest the book The Relaxation Response, or my Menu handout “Daily Home Practice: Breath Awareness and Breath Regulation”, designed to transform the physical habit of shallow, rapid chest breathing, which makes unnecessary tension & anxiety, into slower, deeper, more relaxed abdominal breathing. It’s the mechanism underlying many meditative practices, and some folks simply call it meditation. Whatever’s goin’ on, this will eventually bring greater comfort, and clearer thinking and speaking.
Changing a long practiced habit takes a couple/3 weeks of the new practice, then about 3 months of regular, progressively consistent daily practice to make the shift to automatically using slow, deep abdominal breathing much to most of the time. You’ll get much better at remembering to practice consistently a few minutes, many times a day, and letting one of those practices become longer when you’re ready, for a few weeks to a few months. This will significantly reduce your stress and anxiety at the moment, as well as greatly reduce the buildup of tension & worry over your day, so you’ll have less stress to deal with.
Stick with it, and let’s talk about the Practice in Group. It’s the single easiest, most powerful control anybody has over how tense & anxious you are, or how comfortable, calm and clear you can be. Maybe some folks don’t put in the work of daily practice because at first you have to remind yourself often to do it, and it does take a few weeks of conscious effort to transition from the habit of shallow, rapid chest breathing into automatic deeper, slower abdominal breathing. Or maybe because it’s too easy and simple, and some folks prefer more complicated tactics and strategies – whatever works better for you.
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