Slow breathing is like an anchor in the midst of an emotional storm; the anchor won’t make the storm go away, but it will hold you steady until it passes. –Russ Harris

Basic Abdominal Breathing

The basics:

  • Inhale slowly through your nose.
  • Make sure you feel your belly expand as this means oxygen is filling the bottom of your lungs.
  • Pause, then exhale fully through your mouth. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to empty your lungs completely.
  • Try to keep your breathing smooth and steady.
  • As a general rule, you want to exhale for twice as long as you inhale.

The Window Method

This technique is called the Window because you can have your eyes trace the four sides of a window as you breathe. Involving your eyes in not required, but I find it an effective way to focus and slow down. This is also an easy exercise to teach children.

  • Inhale for a count of 4 as your eyes travel slowly up the side of the window.
  • Pause for a count of 4 as your eyes track across the top of the window.
  • Exhale fully for a count of 4 as your eyes follow their way down the right side of the window.
  • Continue exhaling for a count of 4 as your eyes move back over the sash to the corner where you started.