Updated: Apr 20, 2020
I hope you all had a nice weekend. Today’s focus skill is deep breathing. The body’s natural response to anger, frustration, stress, etc. often includes a faster heartbeat, faster breathing, and tighter muscles. Deep breathing is used to slow down our bodies and help us feel calmer. Breathing strategies can be done preventatively to prepare for upcoming activities and to maintain a calmer state. Breathing can also be used in the moment, when feeling stressed.
Slow deep breathing: inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds. Repeat for several rounds.
Color breathing: pretend to breathe in a calm color and exhale a stressful color. Try making the exhale longer than the inhale.
Imaginary breathing: pretend to breathe in a favorite scent and pretend to blow out candles on a birthday cake.
Affirmation breathing: pair breathing with affirmation/positive self-talk (think, I am on the inhale, and calm on the exhale or I am on the inhale and OK on the exhale). Make up your own ideas.
GoNoodle.com: for a strategy called rainbow breath, go to https://family.gonoodle.com/channels/flow and then go to Rainbow Breath for a guided activity.
Suggestions for using this skill:
● If your child is familiar with deep breathing, ask them to teach you the skill. Ask your child to identify times when it could be used at home.
● Encourage your child to practice a favorite deep breathing strategy. Ask them to place one hand on their chest and one hand on their belly and try to get the hand on the belly to move (this is how you know that you are using DEEP breathing).
● Have your child lay on their back and place a small object (ex. stuffed animal) on their belly. See if they can get the object to move up and down while breathing but use slow breathing so it doesn’t fall over.
● Model breathing techniques when you are feeling stressed.
● Practice strategies with your child when you are both calm. If we only tell our children to take a deep breath when upset, they will think that breathing is a something negative. Deep breathing is a preventative skill to be used throughout the day to stay at a calmer state (think of it as daily exercise or eating healthy foods).
We hope you all have a wonderful day.
Marissa Lloyd, LPCMH