Today’s big idea is that in the coaching world anxiety is often described as excitement without breath. Meaning, anxiety isn’t 100 percent bad. In fact, it’s often a sign that we are up to something big, or important, or out of our comfort zone, and if we could just find a way to steady ourselves through it, we might be able to halt anxiety in its tracks and shift some of that anxiety into a more constructive form of energy—like anticipation, or motivation.
Listen To The Podcast Here
Take A Deep Breath
So today I’m sharing with you a really easy and super helpful breathing exercise; one where you exhale for twice as long as you inhale to halt anxiety in its tracks. More on why this particular breathing trick helps and how to do it…
Let’s talk extended exhale breathing.
First, why this particular breathing exercise for anxiety? Well, exhales help us get rid of what we don’t need. That means carbon dioxide, yes. Also, stale air. Ew. And even thoughts that aren’t serving us or big heavy emotions, like grief, which are associated with the lungs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. So they’re very mentally and emotionally cleansing.
Also, when you encourage yourself to expel that much air, you have to engage your diaphragm.
Which, when you’re stressed or feeling anxious, can get locked in place, as those two emotional states cause you to breathe shallowly. And a locked up diaphragm is a chicken and egg situation—it’s a cause and an effect of stress. So getting your diaphragm to really move up and down is an important way to send the all-clear signal to your nervous system that everything’s ok and helps halt anxiety in its tracks.
And finally, focusing on counting your inhales and exhales will distract you from those anxious thoughts and help your mind settle down a bit, kind of like giving a puppy a chew toy; things get a lot quieter.
Let’s try it right now, whaddyasay?
Sit up nice and tall, or even lie all the way down. Take in one nice big breath through your nose, and as you breathe out through your nose, close your eyes. Now, inhale through the nose for a count of 3, 1, 2, 3. Pause for just a beat. And then exhale through the nose for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, One more time. In for 1, 2, 3 and out for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Daily Tiny Assignment
That’s it. That’s the formula—exhale for twice as long as you inhale to halt anxiety in its tracks. Your tiny assignment is to do 5 extended exhale breaths at some point in the next 24 hours. I like to do it while lying in bed, it helps your mind settle enough that you can more easily drift off to sleep. But it works any time you’re feeling your thoughts start to swirl in that uniquely anxious way.
Come back tomorrow when I’m sharing the two supplements that can help provide the physiological support you need to keep your mental health humming and anxiety at bay.