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What Are Some Ways That I Can Quickly Calm Myself Down When I Feel Upset?

Take a breath! The power of breathing cannot be understated. Since ancient times, people have been using breathing exercises as a way to reduce stress and clear the mind of negative thoughts. Holistic and whole-self therapeutic approaches, like yoga and meditation, use breathing exercises to train the mind to focus. The best thing about using your breath as a coping skill is that you can take it with you anywhere! Here is a quick exercise to get you started right now!

  • Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. You could be experiencing panic while in your car or at the workplace. Find somewhere to take a time-out: preferably alone and with no distractions!
  • Place your hand on your belly to feel the movement in your diaphragm.
  • Close your eyes and concentrate on taking a full, deep, “belly” breath through your nose. You will fill your stomach gently and press outward on each inhale.
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth. Gently push your hand into your stomach to “let out” all the remaining air.
  • When breathing in for a count of three and pause for an additional count.
  • Breathe out with a similar rhythm for a count of four without pausing before the “in” breath. (The rhythm should be like this: “in: 1-2-3 pause, out: 1-2-3-4, in: 1-2-3 pause, out: 1-2-3-4”).
  • Take anywhere from three to ten breaths per cycle.
  • Try to focus only on your breathing!
  • Notice how you feel and continue the exercise if necessary.

This simple exercise is something that you can do almost anywhere when you feel upset or emotionally triggered throughout the day. Once you feel calm and focused, you can get back to your day feeling more empowered and energetic. Remember that sometimes, we all need a moment to breathe!

If this exercise was helpful to you and you are interested in more extensive work to manage your emotions, consider learning about conscious connected breathwork and other mindfulness techniques. If you feel that you need to heal from emotional trauma in a nurturing and safe environment, contact The Guest House at (855) 483-7800. Our staff is trained in mindfulness techniques, such as breathing and meditation, to help you with your recovery! We offer both short-term stays and intensive outpatient programs! Give us a call today for more information!