My counseling clients know the routine. This is how we start our one hour conversations together. We rest our heads back in the comfy chairs. Close our eyes, drop our shoulders. Unclench our fists and lay our hands gently in our laps.
I teach these lovely hard-working ladies how to breathe in through their noses to the count of seven, hold it to the count of seven, and then blow all the air out of their lungs like air out of a balloon to the count of ten.
We do it a few times 'til she calms, stills, quiets all that churns within.
Simply put, we exhale.
And when you do this little exercise for a minute or two, you're probably going to begin to release the anxiety that's built up deep and way too strong.
Go ahead. Try it!
Breathe in, 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7.
Hold it, 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7.
Release it all out like air out of a balloon, 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10.
This little breathing gem does wonders when you wake up in the morning before your feet hit the floor. Or at night when sleep is hard to come by. Or outside swinging high, higher, highest into the bright blue sky. And feel free to do this behind the wheel of your car ... just be sure to keep your eyes open, ok?
It's a wonderful way to begin a time of prayer. Letting all the burdens go ... and talking to our Creator, the One who formed and shaped us to breathe deep, to live anxiety-free, to celebrate a life rich and full and graced with peace.
P.S. As a pastoral counselor, I take the issue of anxiety very seriously. Christians are prone to think this is simply a spiritual issue and spend precious energy beating themselves up over this plague. Ongoing, intense anxiety has strong physical and emotional components that need to be addressed. If this is true for you, friend, I encourage you to talk with your doctor and seek help from a wise counselor.
Oh, Linda, thank you so much for sharing this! I tried the breathing once as I read and I'm going to get off here and do it again! I learned about deep breathing when I was in therapy a few years back, but it's so easy to forget. Thanks for the great reminder!ReplyDelete
Oh Marie, thank you for sharing this with us this evening. I didn't even know if I was going to do the 5 Minute Friday thing tonight. But hearing that this little post has helped you ... well, it's simply made my day.Delete
Peace, peace ...
To live anxiety free, oh yes! Love this!ReplyDelete
How He longs to see us lay this burden down ... yes, yes.Delete
It's crazy how easily we forget how to breathe--to exhale deeply and completely. Thank you for the lesson I needed to learn all over again!ReplyDelete
For sure, way too often we're doing the shallow breathing thing, our shoulders are tucked way up under our ears. We are so prone to be tense.Delete
Lord, help us!
Oh Linda, how much I needed this! My husband and I had a little conversation that has shaken us up a little, and I knew we needed to pray. But without calming myself down, I couldn't really focus on it. This breathing exercise will help me feel centered. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Praying for you right now, my friend ... may you feel the Spirit's sweet peace wash over you as you talk together with Him ...Delete
Thank you so much for your prayer, Linda. oxDelete
I have done this every night before I go to sleep and in many tense situations. I have also suggested it to anxiety -prone friends. It is a lifesaver! Thank you for teaching this to me, Linda!!ReplyDelete
I'm truly delighted that this has worked for you over time, Barb. And I love that you're sharing it with others ...Delete
Thanks so much for stopping by to say 'hi' and let me know that this has been helpful!
Yes, our God created us to breathe deep!ReplyDelete
"...then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." (Genesis 2:7)
We're alive because He lives and breathes in us! No wonder breathing is so calming... As we rely on God for every next breath, our anxiety is replaced by soul-deep trust.
Thanks for all the times you've breathed along with me...
I love that you've taken us right back to the foundation, the beginning, the book of Genesis. But I'm not at all surprised! I so appreciate your study of His Word, HBHW ...Delete
I hope that this is a sparkling strong day for you!
Great advice! Anxiety and stress are so real and so many of us believe that we are always going to experience it so just deal with it! We don;t take the time to truly de-stress and learn practical ways to let go! The exhale in our lives is so important-all the messiness leaves every time we exhale. Thanks my friend for your wisdom! Happy 4th!ReplyDelete
Isn't it sad that we feel like we've just gotta settle for second best? If we're honest, most of us deal with anxiety from time to time. But to be pro-active tells those fears that they are not in charge. God is. And He is able to lead us along the healing path and to the right ones to walk that path with us.Delete
Thanks for your insights, Mary! I always love when you arrive.
I love this Linda! I think we are often such shallow breathers but taking it all in... and holding it... and letting it go helps us to relax and, well, let it go! (At least we're more open to letting it go!) Your post also reminded me of Bob Goff and how he tells all of his clients (he's a lawyer) to sit in the courtroom with their hands open, palms up, on their laps... it's difficult to take offense or get angry with palms up and open! Visiting from LJs today for FMFReplyDelete
Oh what a cool idea! I'm going to try the palms up thing the next time I'm in one of those tense situations, Karrilee. Uh ... not a courtroom situation ... just a tense one!!Delete
Thanks for coming by on this holiday!
Shades of Lamaze training---a LONG time ago---but I still use it for many purposes--including handling physical pain. They also teach you to concentrate on relaxing every muscle by focusing on the toes and working up the body---letting go of the tension--with intention!ReplyDelete
If I were closer--I would LOVE to sit in your chair and chat with you!
Yep, I do the deep breathing when at one of THOSE appointments.Delete
But I am quite glad the Lamaze days are far, far behind me!
I've missed you, dear friend. So glad to have my computer back up and running, and to be caught up enough to get back out and visit once again. I really needed this breathing exercise last week. Better late than never though - thanks for sharing!- Have a blessed holiday weekend!ReplyDelete
Welcome back! Glad that your computer's cooperating so that you can come calling, June! And I'm sure that life will continue to toss opportunities at us to do the deep breathing thing once again.Delete
I hope your weekend brings you lots of put-up-your-feet time!
I've learned, first hand, the dangers of letting anxiety take over. I've spent years trying to calm my brain against anxiety but ignored my body. Last week I ended up in the hospital anemic and dehydrated. Now I know I have to pay more attention to what my body is saying because anxiety can ravage it. Exercising, better eating and 10 glasses of water a day from now on. 10 days later and I feel better and my anxiety has lessened. I've always been one to ignore medicinal intervention because I felt like a failure but I'm rethinking that too.............sometimes it's just chemical and not something that can be helped. Lots of lessons I'm learning!!ReplyDelete
Oh, those feelings of being a failure so often keep us from doing what we need to do, don't they. I'm so sorry to hear that you haven't been well, Val ... I'm praying for you even as we speak, trusting that you'll listen to your body and your doctors ... they often combine to guide us to do the right thing.Delete
May the Greatest Physician speak peace deep into your soul.
Thanks, Linda for the reminder....how I wish we could sit and talk :)ReplyDelete
Yes, this a gentle reminder that we all need to sit with ... and act on ... from time to time.Delete
And thank you for your sweet affirmation, Dolly. Sure do wish we could shrink the miles!
Sabbath blessings ...
Beautiful way to start my morning! So simple, yet something I often forget to do. Just sit still, relax and exhale! Thanks!!ReplyDelete
Exhaling with you, friend! And breathing in His quieting presence ...Delete
Thanks for starting the day at dawn here! Hope it's a good one!
Linda, I love this post, and the deep, relaxing breathing exercise, as we enter His Holy Presence, and learn from Him the unforced rhythm of His grace, amazing!ReplyDelete
And don't we crave simply that ... His unforced rhythms of grace. For His yoke is easy, His burden is light.Delete
Blessings as we begin this day together, Beth!
I do that breathing exercise on my way to dentist and doctor appointments which always make my blood pressure spike, and it works for that, too.ReplyDelete
That's for sure, Kathy. And during those oh-so-uncomfortable procedures / tests / visits whenever possible, too!Delete
P.S. As a pastoral counselor, I take the issue of anxiety very seriously. Christians are prone to think this is simply a spiritual issue and spend precious energy beating themselves up over this plague. Ongoing, intense anxiety has strong physical and emotional components that need to be addressed. If this is true for you, friend, I encourage you to talk with your doctor and seek help from a wise counselor. <-- Linda, Your p.s. is perfect. I am a Christian and I suffer from chronic and reoccurring anxiety. I take medicine daily, and I have a super counselor. It is a blessing that you are helping other women breath and exhale! One day at a time. Hopping over from Holley's blog. Glad we could have "coffee" together this morning. JennReplyDelete
Your words bless, Jennifer. Thank you for giving 'permission' to other Christ-followers to go the medication route when needed. That you've combined your faith, medical care, and counseling all together sounds oh so wise.Delete
I'm touched and grateful that you're here today. And I can't help but believe that your words will let others know that there is hope when it comes to dealing with anxiety ...