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GOOD NEWS - Launching the ELS Self-Study Program Blog # 11

Updated: Apr 12

I am excited to start the EFFECTIVE LIVING SKILLS (ELS) self-study program. I hope to develop ten effective living skill-sets and the first one is Breathing Techniques to Calm. Many of my clients who struggle with feelings of not being good enough, high anxiety, depression and self-harm urges have experienced traumatic events. They are frequently triggered to go into survival mode (the fight-flight-freeze reaction). A starting point for them is to learn breathing techniques to calm the body and quiet the mind.

Almost anyone would benefit from the four breath calming techniques that can be learned by reading the study sheet and then doing the requirements on the worksheet. The self-study program is absolutely FREE. Persons who complete the requirements on the worksheet will earn a certificate of completion that they can print off. It is on the honor system. It is so important for persons to practice various life skills until they become automatic. Developing positive habit patterns can prove to be a life changer.

The self-study program can be accessed by going to the top of my website and clicking on the tab labeled SELF STUDY. Download the first PDF that explains the ELS Program. Then download the second PDF that explains Breathing Techniques to Calm with an accompanying worksheet. If you really work at it, you could meet the requirements in less than a week. When you do, download Certificate # 1 and type your name on the certificate to replace "YOUR NAME," and then print the certificate. Next week, I plan to present information on the SELF-CARE Skill Set.

The following portion of the blog is the study sheet for learning breathing techniques to calm.

BREATHING TECHNIQUES TO CALM

Stress Can Be Overwhelming

Many people live in a state of heightened anxiety. They are hyper-vigilant, tense, and irritable. Their bodies are on high alert much of the time. The following physiological changes occur to prepare the body to fight or flee. Heart rate and respiration speed up, muscles tense, digestion shuts down, and adrenalin is released to increase strength and endurance. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is also released into the body causing one to be "on guard" and ready to detect and react to danger. Breathing techniques often prove helpful to people to calm their body and quiet their mind.

Learn Slow & Deep Breathing

As you stand or sit erect with your feet flat on the floor, slowly inhale through your nose for six seconds filling first your lower lungs as your abdomen rises and then filling your upper lungs. Exhale slowly through your mouth for six seconds first emptying your lower lungs and then your upper lungs. Practice now taking three slow and deep breaths.

FIFTEEN SLOW & DEEP BREATHS: You can lower your cortisol level and anxiety by simply taking fifteen slow & deep breaths three times a day. If you drive to work, count fifteen slow & deep breaths before turning the radio on. Take fifteen deep breaths at lunch, and do it again as you drive home. This simple exercise can be quite helpful in calming your body and mind. If you are highly anxious or experiencing panic attacks, you may want to increase the number of times you practice taking fifteen slow and deep breaths during the day.

COUNTING BREATHS MEDITATION: Start a timer for five minutes and practice counting slow & deep breaths. After inhaling for six seconds say 1 to yourself. After exhaling for six seconds silently say 2. Continue the counting to 10 completing five entire breaths. Then start over each time you reach 10 until the timer goes off. Gradually increase the time you do this meditation until you do it for twenty minutes or longer.

THREE MINDFUL BREATHS: Develop the habit of taking three slow, deep breaths throughout the day whenever you experience feeling anxious, angry or distressed in any way. You may want to add words to each breath. For instance if you'd like to lessen your anger focus on the following words.1) As you take the first breath think PATIENCE as you inhale for a count of six seconds and exhale for a count of six seconds. 2) Think UNDERSTANDING as you take the second breath. 3) Think PEACE as you take the third breath. If you want to train your mind to worry less, think of the following. 1)Think I AM SAFE as take the first breath. 2) Think OTHERS CANNOT CONTROL MY FEELINGS as you take the second breath. 3) Think I CHOOSE TO BE CALM AND STRONG.

FIVE COUNT BREATHING: Inhale through your nose for a count of five seconds, hold it for a count of five seconds, and then exhale through either your mouth or nose for a count of five seconds. Then immediately start the cycle over with each cycle taking about fifteen seconds. You may want to use this when you're needing to really focus on your breathing. If you have panic attacks you may want to see if this works better for you than the slow and deep breaths explained above. Over time find out what works for you.

Please check out the SELF STUDY program at the top of the website.


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