When life throws out too many lemons, do you feel like you’re all over the place trying to pick them all up? It is all too easy to get overwhelmed by your feelings when life gets tough. This is probably why “Keep Calm and Carry On” has trended so much and evolved into so many popular memes derived from a war time British motivational poster. Keeping calm is probably the best advice one can give (and get) during rough times.
Breathing Through Your Emotions
When you are at the height of your emotions, you may find it hard to control your responses. Your emotions may drive you to do something drastic or unwise. So, breathe and relax for a bit to master your feelings. Take time for deep calming breaths when you are angry, upset, excited or surprised. Follow these breathing techniques to regulate your breathing and bring back equilibrium to your system.
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing. Lie down on the floor with your feet eight inches apart, with knees bent. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Feel your abdomen rise as you slowly inhale through your nose. Relax your mouth and jaw as you exhale through your mouth. You can do this breathing exercise for five minutes, then up to 20 minutes when become comfortable with it.
2. Bumble Bee Breathing. With relaxed shoulders, inhale through the nose with a slightly closed throat, so you can hear your breathing. Next, cover your ears with your thumb and your eyes with your fingers. With your teeth slightly apart, relax your jaws, and close your lips. Exhale long breaths slowly, making a humming sound. Do this seated exercise 5-10 times and then enjoy the quiet moments.
3. Alternate-Nostril Breathing. Using your right thumb, block off your right nostril. Inhale slowly through your left nostril. Hold your breath and close it off with your ring finger. Lift off your thumb while exhaling through your right nostril, releasing your breath slowly. Inhale again through your right nostril, hold breath and block again with your thumb. Release your ring finger as you gently exhale through your left nostril. This counts as one round. Start with just a couple of rounds moving up to ten rounds when you get better at it.
4. Measured Breathing. In a relaxed seated or standing position, drop your shoulders and relax your jaws. Breathe in through the nose up to four counts, as your stomach expands with air. Hold your breath, then expel slowly and smoothly counting to seven. Do this exercise for two minutes.
5. Triangular Breathing. Breathe through your nose for three seconds. Hold your breath for another three seconds, and release it through the nose counting three seconds. Repeat.
People’s emotions tend go haywire from all of life’s sweetness and sourness. Love, joy, surprise, anger, fear, sadness and embarrassment are just the tip of the iceberg one can experience throughout one’s lifetime. Because people are sentient beings, emotions can be hard to control. You will need these techniques to handle tricky emotions and master your reactions.