Ever find yourself saying
something that you shouldn't, maybe to a teacher...or to your parents
or a friend? Wish you could take the words back?
they're only words, once they're out there, they're gone and
it's too late. Too late to save you from getting in trouble.
Too late to prevent someone being hurt by your words.
What if you had a surefire
tool to keep this from happening? The breathing strategy will do
that for you.
Here's why it works:
Deep breathing can be a very useful tool. Of all the strategies
offered in Strategies for Success, this is the one most used
and therefore, by far, the most popular. Because of that, you will
find more stories on this topic than any other. Why?
Because we lead stressful lives and anything that can help that is
worth checking out.
Teens have found this strategy to be most effective when they feel
that they're about to say or do something that would normally get
them in trouble. Someone says something you don't like -
maybe a teacher, a parent or even a friend? Take a deep breath
before you speak and you've given yourself a few seconds to gain
control of the situation and to make a good decision. Once the
words are out, it's too late to take them back. Breathe first
and those words stay tucked away.
Deep breathing techniques are
used in many situations. Often the first suggestion to a distressed
person is to breathe. Singers and musicians breathe deeply from the
diaphragm to sustain and support the notes. Athletes often take a
deep breath at a critical moment – a pitcher before throwing the
baseball, a golfer before swinging the club, a basketball player
about to make a shot from the foul line.
There are many benefits from
this type of breathing. Here are three of them:
1) It brings oxygen to the
brain which is useful in decision making, everyday learning and test
2) It helps get the lymph
system moving which is part of the way our body removes toxins.
Deep breathing on a regular basis can help to improve the immune
system and keep us healthier.
3) It helps in reducing
stress. Deep breathing turns our focus to counting our breaths and
away from the cause of the stress.
Breathe in a ratio of 1:4:2. We
usually start off breathing in through the nose for a count of 5,
hold our breath for a count of 20 and breathe out through the mouth
for a count of 10. So go with 5 in, 20 hold,
10 out a couple of times a day. If you feel lightheaded, stop.
The goal is to do 10 breaths like this 3 times a day. If you
feel that you're ready for more, up the amounts to 6:24:12 and then
7:28:14. You get the picture. All good for stress relief
of course but just plain goof for your body in general.
Since many of us tend to breathe
in a shallow manner from the upper chest, this method of breathing
might make us yawn or feel a bit light headed. If you’re
uncomfortable when you try it, just go back to your normal
Give our breathing ratio a try,
especially the next time a stressful situation presents itself. You
may notice that your attention is temporarily directed away from
anger and stress for a few moments. It allows you the time to think
before saying something you might regret later.
Real Stories - Real Teens
I needed to use some strategies
not too long ago. I used the breathing ratio to keep myself under
control when my car was stolen from the student parking lot. I was
very worried about my car but thanks to the breathing strategy, I
got through the day.
Luckily, the police found my car later the same day and there was no
damage done to it. It was very important that I didn’t flip out
because that would have made the day much worse.