Add these simple breaths to your toolbox for a quick fix during life's stressful moments!
The breath is a powerful force we can harness to get ourselves back in the driver's seat of our experience and out of any reactionary, autopilot mode we may have switched into.
What is unique about the breath, compared to most other life sustaining bodily functions, is that we can easily become aware of it and consciously control it.
Unlike things like heart rate, digestion or hormone levels - the breath lives inside of the subconscious, where we can draw it into awareness - into our conscious mind, adjust it and influence our overall state.
There are many many styles of breathing that can create a variety of altered states within the body, but I am especially partial to ones that are easy to remember, simple to implement, and quick to feel the effects of.
These three breaths check each of those boxes and bonus - they are easily modeled for and picked up by children (especially 5 finger breathing!)
This breath is great for high stress moments, which is why it's used by professionals working in extreme situations like firefighters, paramedics and combat soldiers.
While maybe not life threatening, life with a toddler can sometimes feel like combat and this breath is a great way to recenter yourself and enter a place of calm during tantrums, meltdowns and everyday battle of wills.
It is easy to remember because the breath is simply 4 equal parts, just like a box (you can also call it square breathing if that helps).
Sometimes the tactile addition of tracing a square on your thigh or in the air helps you focus your attention on the breath and the somatic experience can help it work more effectively.
In just a minute or so, this breath is able to balance out the nervous system and bring you back down off the ledge.
5 Finger Breathing
This breath comes with similar somatic elements and an easy to remember approach. By simply tracing along the outline of your hand with the opposite index finger, you can focus on taking some deep breaths.
I really love this breath for little people. It is so basic they can quickly learn to do it on their own and it becomes a really great tool for self regulation.
This breath is also super easy to teach, since it is one that can be modeled very directly yet discretely. By performing this breathing technique during a tough moment, in the company of your kids, they will be intrigued and want to know what you're doing - likely mimicking you or asking questions on the spot.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This breath has been used for thousands of years and works by tapping directly into both sides of the autonomic nervous system.
By isolating the two sides of the system, this breath brings balance to the body and signals to the brain that the threat has subsided.
This breath is easy to perform once you get the hang of it and super effective.
Do you use any of these breathing techniques? I am partial to the box breath, but lean on all 3 for different situations!
I hope they help you and your little ones find a sense of calm after a stressful moment!