Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP
In this video, Jenny Lehman will talk about how to stay calm during the storm. We all have a pattern that we use
to calm ourselves even when we feel something we do not want to feel. For
example, we might watch Netflix, go on our phone, go shopping, etc. These behaviors feed us in
a small way for a short time. In the long run, these behaviors can have a
very damaging effect on our mental health. The current world climate feels unpredictable. If it
makes you feel anxious, it might make you feel inclined to do one of the behaviors previously
mentioned. Maybe it used to work, and now you notice that it does not work as well.
How do we calm ourselves when a negative feeling comes up? One effective method when
conducted regularly is engaging in belly breathing. Belly breathing is a deep breath that expands
your diaphragm. This breathing has an impact on your vagus nerve. Activating this nerve is
essentially like pressing a calming button on our nervous system. The belly breath is powerful if
used consistently. To conduct a belly breath, put your hand on your chest and your stomach.
When you inhale, do not move your shoulders. Bring your breath in through your nose. When
you inhale, your hand is going to move a little bit. Take about 30 or 40 seconds periodically
throughout the day to conduct this belly breath. You should start to see a difference in your
nervous system’s response. It only gets better the more you belly breathe. We never
make good decisions when we are coming from a place of fear. Pay attention to staying balanced
so that you can make logical decisions.
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