"Umm, I think I already know how to breathe."
Yes, almost certainly. And you also know that when you are stressed or anxious your breathing changes. These shifts can feed forward and produce additional symptoms of stress, including lightheadedness, dizziness, chest pressure, a tendency to increase muscle tension, and paresthesias (numbness and tingling in the extremities).
The stress response developed to help us cope with marauding tigers, but it also switches on when we're confronted with an angry boss, screaming kids, or that look from our partner. It produces changes in various parts of our body that we're not used to controlling directly. It would be great to have a handle we could use to ramp stress down - something influenced by stress but over which we also have clear conscious control. That handle is proper breathing.
This course provides instruction in four-stage breathing, an exercise designed to activate the diaphragm, enhance awareness of the distinction between diaphragmatic and intercostal breathing, and provide a strategy you can use to enhance your control over the stress response. You'll start out practicing when you're calm and relaxed, then use it in gradually more difficult situations, until you can practice in the middle of that challenging business meeting - and no one will be the wiser.
So let's get you started!
NOTE: We are working on a new PREVIEW video for this course. Meanwhile, the first lecture is available for free preview without registering to take the course. Simply click to view.
Randy Paterson is the Director of Changeways Clinic, a private mental health center, and author of How to be Miserable, The Assertiveness Workbook, Private Practice Made Simple, and Your Depression Map. He is also the lead author of the Changeways Core Program, one of the world's most widely used group therapy treatment protocols for depression. He presents workshops for professional mental health providers across Canada and internationally.