As we’ve talked about before, mindfulness is an important tool that can help reduce anxiety, depression, and distress in the body and mind. It involves paying attention in the present moment to increase awareness, without judging your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Mindfulness exercises can be practiced anytime, anywhere. An easy way to start implementing mindfulness in your daily life is to start focusing on your breath.
Breathing exercises are an important tool in our anxiety reducing toolbox. When we are jolted into an anxious state, they can help turn on the rest response in the body through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and stimulation of the vagus nerve. The 3-part diaphragmatic breath is one exercise. Breathing with our diaphragm positively triggers the body to orient towards a state of safety, which decreases feelings of anxiety, stress, and panic.
Practice this 3-part breathing exercise, facilitated by Resident in Counseling MJ Harford, when you feel anxious, fearful, or in a state of panic.
MJ is a Resident in Counseling at both our Old Town Alexandria and Falls Church locations. She works with adolescents and adults using an integrated mindbody approach to therapy. To learn more about MJ, you can read her profile here.