Breathing, Visualisation and Grounding 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.
- Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.
- 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.
- If you’re sitting, place your arms on the chair arms.
- 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:
- Breath in for seven seconds, taking a long and even breath.
- Breath out for eleven seconds, using the full eleven seconds to create an even breath out.
- As you breathe out, force your mouth to smile – this is important!
- 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.