4 - 6 Breathing
Controlled breathing is natural first-aid for anxiety and emotional overwhelm. A way to shift your nervous system from a stressed to restorative state. A 4 - 6 breath is one method to try - here’s how:
1 - Sit comfortably with your back as straight as possible.
2 - Breath in slow and deep through your nose while counting to 4 in your head
3 - Pause and hold your breath for a second
4 - Breath out slowly through your mouth while counting to 6
5 - Repeat for a minute or two.
How and why does it work? A longer out-breath than in-breath lowers your heart rate while releasing excess stress hormones from your bloodstream which build up when we're in a stressed or anxious state. Studies show that 5-10 minutes of this kind of breathing each day can reduce anxiety and stress hormone levels in five days.
You could try the following - Rate your current stress or anxiety level from 0 to 10 (0 = relaxed - 10 = high stress/anxiety). Then when you find yourself over-thinking or scrolling through your phone - pause and practise 4-6 breathing instead for 2 to 3 minutes. Stop and check in again with your stress level (mark out of 10).