May 2, 2016

Grounding Technique: Breathing

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breath is my anchor.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing gives you something to focus on and control as well as providing much-needed oxygen to your brain during a triggering moment. It can center you by helping to combat your anxiety or depression. Breathing can help regulate both and bring you back to a happy medium.

You don’t need any fancy gadgets for breathing, which makes it perfect for any and every situation. It’s a learnable skill that can be incredibly effective the more you practice.

So how do you practice?

Sit down somewhere comfortable, whether it’s a chair or the floor, where you won’t be disturbed. Now you’re ready to start.

  • Inhale through your nose, counting to four
  • Hold your breath, counting to two
  • Exhale through your nose, counting to six
  • Put a hand on your abdomen and one on your chest, so you can feel the breathing as it is occurring.

Adjust the count as you feel necessary – if you’re combatting depression, try doing longer inhales and shorter exhales; if you’re combatting anxiety, try shorter inhales and longer exhales. As you count you may find your mind wandering, that’s okay, just bring your thoughts back to your breathing and relax into the moment.

You can read an overview of several other grounding techniques here.