By Janet McLean
During our recent webinar on Loss & Grief (available at www.familycaregiversbc.ca/webinars), guest panelist Christy Linder talked about incorporating Frank Ostaseski’s approach to finding a place of rest in the middle of things (YouTube: “Find A Place of Rest in the Middle of Things – Self Care for Caregivers”) to coach her sick mother with conscious breathing. She described the process she used as finding a place of rest at the bottom of each breath. It was a great reminder of the importance of breath and how we can use it to help us stay in the present moment.
Conscious breathing helps with managing pain (e.g. during birth and sickness) and as a way of reducing and managing anxiety.
How to breathe consciously
You can try this anywhere, anytime.
- Wherever you are, take a minute to stop what you are doing and be still.
- Close your eyes and focus on the air moving through your nostrils.
- Take a deep breath into the count of six. Hold for a count of two. Breathe out to the count of six. Repeat 10-15 times.
- Focus on the breath entering and exiting your body.
- Breathe deeply (from the diaphragm so the stomach expands and contracts). This gives you more to focus on and helps the body relax.
- If it helps, imagine the breaths are associated with energy flows (inhale positive energy, exhale negative energy) or use a visual to assist, such as the undulating movement of ocean tides.
- Make this a habit. Set aside time once a day. It’s said that a new habit can be built in 21 days.
Those who practice conscious breathing swear it helps them manage anxiety and stress. As caregivers, you have plenty of that. And just think, there’s no equipment required! This can be done anywhere, and it’s free! Why wouldn’t you try it?
Contact us and let us know if you have success with this technique.