Breathing ...
for stress relief... and to keep yourself from saying things that gets you in trouble in school, at home and with friends


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? 

While 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 taking.

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.

The Procedure

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 breathing. 

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.





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