Deal with stress – “Breathing by numbers”
[1 minute self-development]
My friend Emma was struggling to deal with her new hobby - Bikram yoga. This is the form of
torture exercise where they heat the room to 110 degrees. Unfortunately she had to leave after 20 minutes of the 90 minute session. She said to me afterwards, ‘It’s all very well the teachers telling us to stay in the room. But it was so hot I felt like I was having a panic attack and couldn’t breathe.’
Emma is a pretty determined character though, and wanted to go back, so she tried this 1-minute breathing technique.
Breathing by numbers
- Take deep breaths in and out through the nose. Deep breathing on its own promotes relaxation and calm.
- Count backwards from the number 20,000. Like this: 20,000. 19,999, 19,998, 19,997, 19,996, etc. The breaths don’t have to match the counting.
- As you count, keep focusing on your breathing. (1 minute)
- If you lose your place or get the numbers wrong, go back to 20,000 and start your minute again.
It is surprisingly hard to focus on the numbers, and get it right. This is good – the change in focus is important. It’s all about putting your attention in an utterly different place.
Emma went back to hot yoga. Using this breathing technique, she managed to stay for the whole session on her third attempt. Taking her focus away from the heat and on to counting backwards was enough to make the class bearable. She was quite exhilarated afterwards, and said to me, ‘I never imagined I’d be able to stay in the room that long, although I didn’t realise how bad I was at counting backwards.’
ps I'm in New York this week as my audiobook iGetSlim has been nominated for an Audie award. Exciting, and obviously a great excuse to visit the Big Apple! I'll let you know how I get on.