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Extending the Exhale

Extending the Exhale. The relationship between the breath, the body, and the mind go both ways. By breathing more deeply, you are telling your body that you are safe.

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Extending the Exhale

The way the body breathes can tell you a lot about what you are experiencing.

When you’re anxious or angry, you may find the breath to be shallow and rapid.

When you are resting, the breath slows down and is often deeper.

The relationship between the breath, the body, and the mind goes both ways.

By breathing more deeply, you are telling the nervous system you are safe.

This exercise engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for feelings of safety, relaxation, and ease.

You can use this practice anytime.

It works well when you are experiencing anxiety, anger, or any other emotion that increases the heart rate.

Bring the breath into your awareness.

You can choose one place in the body on which to focus.

Extending the Exhale

The abdomen and chest work well for this exercise.

For the first minute or so, breathe in for three seconds and breathe out for four.

Do your best to count the seconds in your head.

Make the breath a bit longer by inhaling to a count of four and exhaling to a count of five.

After a minute or two, continue to lengthen the breath.

Breathe in for five seconds and breathe out for seven seconds.

Keep your attention on the sensation in the body as you breathe.

As the minutes pass, lengthen your inhales and exhales as much as you’re able.

Don’t strain, but encourage yourself to breathe more deeply.

Remember that the exhale should be longer than the inhale.

After 10 minutes, let go of the counting and take a few deep breaths at your own pace.

Return to your day without returning to shallow breathing right away.

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