How to do 'Mindful Breathing'

Connect Health & Community counsellors encourage Mindful Breathing as a way to help people deal with their stress and anxiety.  

Mindful Breathing can be done anywhere, by adults and children.

The purpose of Mindful Breathing is to anchor yourself in the present moment, so you can let go of worrying about the past or the future. Mindful Breathing has been shown to reduce anxiety, help with burnout, provide certain types of pain relief and decrease negative thinking.

Senior Practitioner, Jessica, says mindful breathing is a great tool as it is always accessible, regardless of where we are.

“Wherever we go, whatever we do, we take our breath with us.  We can focus our attention on our breathing when we feel distressed, which will help calm our mind and our body,” she said.

“The primary goal of mindful breathing is simply a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without getting caught up in them.” 

The following is a mindful breathing exercise recommended at Connect Health & Community:

Sit comfortably, with your eyes closed and your spine reasonably straight.

Bring your attention to your breathing.

Imagine that you have a balloon in your tummy. Every time you breathe in, the balloon inflates.

Each time you breathe out, the balloon deflates. Notice the sensations in your abdomen as the balloon inflates and deflates. Your abdomen rising with the in-breath, and falling with the out-breath.

Thoughts will come into your mind, and that`s okay, because that is just what the human mind does. Simply notice those thoughts, then bring your attention back to your breathing.

Likewise, you can notice sounds, physical feelings, and emotions, and again, just bring your attention back to your breathing.

You don`t have to follow those thoughts or feelings, don`t judge yourself for having them, or analyse them in any way. It`s okay for the thoughts to be there. Just notice those thoughts, and let them drift on by, bringing your attention back to your breathing.

Whenever you notice that your attention has drifted off and is becoming caught up in thoughts or feelings, simply note that the attention has drifted, and then gently bring the attention back to your breathing.

It`s okay and natural for thoughts to enter into your awareness, and for your attention to follow them. No matter how many times this happens, just keep bringing your attention back to your breathing.

Instead of a balloon, you might imagine breathing in the beautiful aroma of a flower, and breathing out slowly and gently by imagining blowing a candle flame to make it flicker, or blowing dandelion seeds.

Children might imagine having a small bottle of bubble mixture, and taking in a big breath before breathing out slowly to make a long stream of bubbles or the biggest bubble they can.

* * * 

Connect Health & Community’s counselling team is here to help.

Our experienced counsellors are professionals with social work, counselling and psychology backgrounds. They provide counselling services to people of all ages, from pre-school through to older adults.

We understand that we all experience challenges in our lives at some point. These could include concerns relating to relationships, families, education, workplace, loss and/or health, when seeking support from a counsellor could be beneficial.

For more information, call us on 03) 9575 5333 or click here to request a booking or a call back for more information.

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