From a therapeutic or mental health perspective, no matter where we come from or where we are going, it is important for everyone to practice self-care. Self-care allows us to center, to focus, and to ultimately better prepare us for the challenges we face with our families, our workplace, and our communities.
Below I will share some basic tips, techniques and skills that can be helpful in beginning to practice self-care. Feel free to share this information!
Please contact me if you would like to know more about therapy that integrates self-care, in an accepting, safe environment.
I also work with couples, facilitating a model that allows them to share and listen to each other in a safer way.
Basic Deep Breathing Instructions
As you engage in this exercise remember to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs. Think of taking deep breaths into your abdomen, rather than struggling to fill your upper chest with shallow breaths. This way you will inhale more oxygen. Remember the more oxygen you get, the less tension, shortness of breath, or anxiety you will feel. Okay, let's begin:
1. Sit comfortably in your chair, with your feet on the floor and your back straight (you may prefer criss-cross on the floor, that works too). Put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
2. Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should begin to rise, let it, it may feel like inflating a balloon. The hand on your chest should move only a little.
3. Exhale slowly through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while pushing in, or contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, the one on your chest should move only a little.
4. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice your abdomen rising and falling, expanding and contracting. Count slowly to 4 as you breathe in and slowly to 5 or 6 as you breathe out. Repeat 7-10 times.
Congratulations! You now have access to the many benefits of deep breathing including increasing your oxygen intake and expanding your ability to focus. How did that feel? Notice it. Maybe write it down and keep a journal of your progress in self-care.
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