This is a relaxation exercise that I like to teach my highly anxious and sometimes just anxious clients in private practice.
So we always start by teaching how to breathe deeply and slowly using the lower part of the belly so diaphragmatic breathing is what this is called and i'm going to ask you to put your hands on your very low belly. This is not your core, it's much lower than your core close your eyes and begin to take some deep breaths expanding the low belly like a balloon.
We want to try to take these breaths just using the low belly taking all the chest breathing away chest breathing is typically anxious breathing so we want to bring the breath down from the chest to the low belly. If you're expanding your belly you're going to feel your hands moving in and out.
i'm going to talk a little bit about the vagus nerve this is a really important part of our internal ability to regulate our emotions our vagus nerve runs parallel from the base of your skull down your spine your spine tails off toward the back. So down at the bottom you've got your tailbone
the vagus nerve tails off toward the inside of your low belly.
The vagus nerve is important because when we are anxious and scared stressed out, we tend to hold very tightly to the vagus nerve. We constrict it and when we constrict the vagus nerve, we pop ourselves into the sympathetic nervous system fight or flight and freeze mode.
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