I had a session with a young lady last week where as the time progressed I couldn't help but notice the changes in her body language and breathing. I suggested to her to focus on her breathing for a minute, to which she responded- "That's a waste of time I breathe all day!".
So true- a task we do everyday, using our implicit memory, and largely completely out of our awareness. I went on to explain to my client that, yes although we do breathe everyday, rarely do we pay attention to our breath, and often times that can be one of the first indications to us that our feelings and anxiety is starting to amp up. The same memory system that allows us to breathe without concious thought is also the system that stores our early challenging, or truamatic memories, and leads us to act out old patterns of coping with tough emotions- instead of thinking things through and responding in a more thought out way. So by simply becoming aware of our breathing, or taking active steps to calm it, we are effectively throwing a stick into the wheel of our typical pattern of anxiety, stress, worry or panic.
This is a lovely visual display to help time a calming rythmic breathing pattern- it has the extra benefit of providing a calming visiual pattern to help interrupt. This is also a great tool to use, noticing what is happening for you before and after a few minutes of practiced breath. The benefits of this task a few minutes a day can offer significant improvements to how you feel throughtout the rest of the day!