Day 2- You have probably heard everyone say “take a deep breath and relax”, I know that I am told this often…It has absolutely nothing to do with my hyperactive personality quirks, of course! In all seriousness, deep breathing or sometimes called “relaxed breathing” has a wonderful place on the pathway to self-care. Deep breathing increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain (a most essential part of the body) and helps the body relax as a result. When I talk about deep breathing, I am not saying that you need to do Lamaze style breathing every ten minutes but you should not just do one quick breath and be done with it. Deep breathing should include a powerful moment of “being in the moment” and allowing us to reset our brains and gather our place in the universe. I deep breathe on a very regular basis because I have found, over the years, that when I get anxious, nervous or stressed out in any way, I tend to hold my breath. Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
1. Breathe in slowly. Count in your head and make sure the inward breath lasts at least 5 seconds. Pay attention to the feeling of the air filling your lungs.
2. Hold your breath for 5-10 seconds (again, keep counting). You don’t want to feel uncomfortable, but it should last quite a bit longer than an ordinary breath.
3. Breathe out very slowly for 5-10 seconds (count!). Pretend like you are breathing through a straw to slow yourself down. Try using a real straw for practice…it works
4. Repeat the breathing process until you feel calm and then do it again.
About this Woman Warrior!
Samantha Afanador is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the proud owner of a private counseling practice in Apex, North Carolina Peak Professional Group. She has over 20 years of experience in the mental health field and has been a woman warrior since the very tender age of 16 when she first stood up for women's rights in the Dominican Republic. She has played many roles in her life and uses her sense of humor, authentic projection of herself and her clinical knowledge to support and mentor those around her.