Techniques for state management (2) Copy

Breathing, Visualisation and Grounding Techniques

Breathing Techniques

Many of the most effective state management techniques involve some kind of breathing exercise.

This calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere; it is recommended by the National Health Service in the UK.

You will get the most benefit if you do it regularly, as part of your daily routine; you can do it standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor.

  1. Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.
  2. If you’re lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
  3. If you’re sitting, place your arms on the chair arms.
  4. If you’re sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you’re in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.
  • Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
  • Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five. You may not be able to reach five at first.
  • Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from one to five again, if you find this helpful.
  • Keep doing this for three to five minutes.

This next exercise can be useful if you are in a challenging situation and are unable to take a moment to get comfortable:

  1. Breath in for seven seconds, taking a long and even breath.
  2. Breath out for eleven seconds, using the full eleven seconds to create an even breath out.
  3. As you breathe out, force your mouth to smile – this is important!
  4. Keep doing this until your state improves; it can be done as an intervention in a stressful situation, as a whole group if you are teaching or presenting, on facing a corner if you are in front of people.

Keep in mind the ways that you reacted when trying these excercises – did they help calm you? Would they be useful in challenging situations or as a long-term state managment process?

Any responses you have to the excercises above will help you produce evidence for your online portfolio, so keep a note of any thoughts or reactions that you have.