Breathing Exercises: What if Sitting Makes Me Anxious?
You know I love my breathing exercises! But is there anyone out there who struggles with sitting completely still and focusing on nothing but your breath? I’ve found that during static breathing exercises some people may experience fear or feel anxious, awkward, or uncomfortable. And I am NOT about making people feel uncomfortable! But I also do not want anyone to miss out on all the benefits breathing exercises have on stress management. One suggestion you’ll often hear for people who experience some discomfort with stillness during their breathing practice is to “sit with it”. This means inviting those feelings of discomfort in and working through them as a means of practicing acceptance. If that “sit with it” approach works for you, GREAT! But what I’ve found, especially for those getting started, is just “sitting with” those uncomfortable feelings haven’t been the best option. So what has worked? Inviting in movement. If you’ve followed me for long, you probably heard me say, our “issues are in our tissues”. This means that stressful experiences get stored in our body, either as excess energy or tension. Movement can help us dissolve that stress and tension in the body, while also limiting distractions during our mindfulness practice. Try adding movement to your breathing practice by:
- Incorporating shoulder movements: When you breathe in, your shoulders come up; when you breath out, your shoulders come down and relax. Repeat as you continue to breathe.
- Incorporating hand movements: When you breathe in, ball up your hands into tight fists; when you breath out you, release and stretch out your fingers. Repeat as you continue to breathe.