Breathing Exercises and Other Techniques to Remain Calm
If you’re looking to improve your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure, then there are numerous different techniques you can use. One of the most potent is to learn to control your breathing, which can immediately help you to feel calmer and avoid being pushed over into the stress response.
In this post, we’ll be looking at some breathing techniques you can employ to stay calm, as well as looking at some other techniques you can use.
Equal breathing is a technique from yoga, which essentially requires you to breathe in and out through your nose. While doing this, you maintain your breath for an equal amount of time on the in-wards and out-wards breaths. So you might breathe out for 4 seconds and then breathe in for four seconds.
This helps you to empty your lungs and fill them with fresh oxygen. What’s more, the slow and deep breathing will allow you to trigger your ‘rest and digest’ state which is similar but slightly different to the ‘fight or flight’ state and is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system. This is a great way to stave off an anxiety response.
Breathing From the Stomach
Another breathing technique to try is simply to breathe from the stomach as we are naturally designed to do. If you try breathing right now and note whether your stomach or chest moves first, you may well find that you breathe by leading with your chest. This limits the amount of oxygen you can take in with each breath and that can increase stress.
Instead, breathe by first allowing your abdomen to expand. Use your transverse abdominis and expand your abdominal cavity. This will allow your diaphragm to drop into that space, opening up your lungs. You can then follow by expanding your chest and you’ll have more space in total to take in more oxygen.
Power positions are positions that have been shown by research to trigger the production of testosterone and other positive, stress-fighting hormones. One is the ‘victory pose’. If you simply stand with your arms above you in a ‘V’ shape, as though you had just won a competition, this will increase your production of testosterone, helping you to feel more confident and more driven. Of course, it’s best to do this somewhere private before the event you’re nervous about!
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.