Deep Breathing Techniques to Calm Anxiety for IBS

Has this happened to you? Racing thoughts, spinning ideas and uncontrollable emotions? Maybe finding it difficult to focus or just. calm. down.  I’ve used these breathing techniques with clients who are struggling with anxiety.

Counting Breath: Start by taking few deep breaths in and out through your nose.  Close your eyes and begin counting in your mind the length of your inhale. Don’t try to change the length of your breath; just count your natural breath, as it is.  Continue counting both your inhales and exhales, noticing if one side of your breath is longer than the other.  When your mind wanders, just begin again to count your breath. Continue as long as you are comfortable.

Lengthening Breath: Try 4 slow counting breaths, as described above.  On your next breath, try to extend your exhale at least 2 counts longer than your inhale. Continue to extend your exhales to a comfortable length.  You don’t want to feel like your gasping for breath.  When you reach that comfortable extended length of your exhale, stay there and continue to breathe.

Focused Breath: Our thoughts can be very powerful.  If you find yourself bombarded by anxious or critical thoughts, choose one word that’s encouraging and calming to you.  Some clients use a word that reminds them of a favorite place or a cherished memory. Others use words such as peace, let go or just be.  It doesn’t matter what the word is, just as long as it brings you a sense of calm and peace.  Close your eyes and find a steady breath in and out through your nose.  On your exhale, think of your word in your mind.  Allow other thoughts and ideas to fade into the background of your mind. Continue to breathe and focus on your word.

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