First, test your current breathing pattern

1.Begin by lying flat on your back or standing up straight. You may also sit up straight in a chair, if that is more comfortable.

2.Place one hand on your stomach area and one hand on your chest.

3.Breathe as you normally would and notice whether your “stomach” hand rises or your “chest” hand rises.

4.To breathe properly, your stomach area must rise more than your chest as your diaphragm expands.

Second, Learn proper breathing technique:

1.To learn to breathe correctly, begin by slowly breathing in through your nose through the count of 4.

2.Hold the breath for a count of 7.

3.Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. (Some call this 4-7-8 breathing.) When you exhale, try to make a soft “whoosh” sound by holding the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth (or lightly clench your teeth) as you exhale slowly.

4.Repeat this process for three more times (for a total of four breaths.) Do not do more than four breaths at first – with practice, you can work your way up to eight breaths. Do this twice each day.

5.If the process causes you to begin panicking, only do it for as long as you are able.

6.Increase the number of breaths each day until you can do the exercise for at least eight breaths twice per day.

7.If you continue to practice breathing this way, you will soon be doing it naturally throughout the day.

8.An additional benefit will be that once you are familiar with the exercise, you can do it while experiencing anxiety or the beginning of a panic attack, and you will feel relief.

Now, change your breathing throughout the day:

Follow the steps above with one important twist: rather than practicing twice per day, practice throughout the day. . .it is more effective. Think about it: you breathe all day, right? So you should breathe correctly all day.

Practice taking a full breath through your nose, hold briefly, and then “whoosh” your exhale slowly as described – but do that at least every 15 minutes all day long. This has two immediate benefits, you are practicing more total “breaths” during the day, and you are making proper breathing a routine throughout your day.

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