A critical part of recovering from depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety disorders and substance abuse issues is learning skills that enable us to have control over our thoughts, feelings and actions. These tools must be transferrable to everyday situations so that we are able to calm down and be reminded to be fully present in the moment.
It is November, which means the start of holiday season. This can be a stressful time with hectic travels and demanding family obligations can make us irritable, angry and anxious. However, mastering a few simple breathing exercises can help us manage our emotions anytime, anywhere.
Counting breaths: One type of breathing is called breath counting. This is when we are challenged to keep a mental calculation of our breaths without getting lost in our thoughts or messing up the tally. To do this - sit in a chair with your eyes closed and begin counting with each breath in-and-out for five minutes, extending the length each time you practice.
Walking: At Brookhaven Retreat, women often take advantage of the nearly 50 acres of beautiful scenery by participating in mindful walking. Mindful walking entails being aware of the way your feet hit the earth with each step. Women learn to be truly present and aware of her thoughts, keeping them solely on the body’s actions and breathe.
Commercial breathing: This exercise can be done at home, on a rainy day while we are watching television. During the commercial breaks, mute the TV and take deep breathes in and out steadily, refreshing the mind.
10-count breathing: This breathing exercise is ideal for dealing with anger and irritability. When you feel yourself getting upset, take a long deep breath in through your nose counting number 1 to yourself. Relax your entire body as your breath out. Repeat this for at least 10 breaths, until you feel calm and in control of your thoughts and actions.
Long breaths: To energize us in the early morning or during a midday slump practice “long breaths”. “Long breaths” means steadily filling our lungs to capacity with fresh air and then exhaling until completely empty.