How Deep Breathing Can Help The Healing Process After Loss

BreatheThere is little good that comes from holding our breath or breathing in a shallow way during a frightful or stressful experience, and yet, that’s what 90 percent of us do. I offer the following deep breathing tips to suicide survivors and anyone else suffering from chronic and crippling stress:

  • Learn the simple basic steps of deep breathing and practice them multiple times each day. By having practiced deep breathing well in advance of any stressful interaction, you will be adequately prepared to keep the body in balance and healthy no matter what confronts you. Here are some good instructions to get you started if you are a newcomer to breathing techniques put out by Harvard Medical School, click here to read the article.
  • If or when someone poses a question to you regarding your current situation, always take a deep breath before answering. Pause, whoever is present can wait. It helps to calm and clear your mind before you give your response, especially if the inquiry could send you into panic mode. The brain will get the oxygen it requires and will perform the job it needs to do – responding without becoming stressed.
  • Perform deep breathing before you take on any task that is likely to upset you or put you in a circumstance that you cannot avoid. Examples of this might be looking at photographs of your loved one, visiting an old location that resurrects memories, or being in a crowd of friends and relatives you haven’t seen in a while. This is a good technique for putting off Fight or Flight.
  • Include deep breathing techniques into your relaxation or meditation routine. If meditation is not part of your daily routine, then call it relaxation and breathe your way to health several times a day. Set the time aside purposefully or when you come upon some unexpected time. Early morning before or just after arising and then later in the evening before you retire is a good plan. Put your faith in the breath.
  • Put yourself in nature without earbuds, iPod or cell phone. This is a perfect time to take stock of how you are feeling internally, as well as check the gauges on your emotions. Spend the activity registering your deep breathing and how it is working for you. Listen to the air going through you during inspiration and expiration. Then call it “meditation”…..
  • Use deep breath to avoid aligning yourself with guilt. Since one of the most difficult confrontations we have as survivors is with ourselves, when unwanted thoughts make their way into your heart and mind, stop wherever you are and deep breathe. For superb effect, say the mantra, “I am Guilt Free” while performing the breathing technique.
  • For an effective exercise, set a breath-training reminder. For instance, deep breathe whenever you:
    1. see something green
    2. enter a building
    3. get into your car
    4. finish brushing your teeth
    5. complete a phone call
  • Compliment yourself for deep breathing during the day. Congratulate yourself for improving your health, releasing your stress and bringing yourself forward in the path of survivorship.

Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, Published by CreateSpace, $12.87, paperback and e-book available 09/2015.

CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet gabrielle@survivorhealing.com

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