With The 3-Minute Breathing Space
This little technique can ground you any time, when anxiety and panic threatens to engulf you. Try it out a few times when you feel calm, so you’re ready to test it out the next time you’re in a stressful situation.
Bring yourself into the present moment by adopting an upright and dignified posture. If you are comfortable doing so, close your eyes. Now ask yourself: “What am I experiencing right now? …in my thoughts? …in my feelings? …in my bodily, physical sensations?” Acknowledge and register your experience, even if it is unwanted.
Now gently invite yourself to redirect all your attention to your breathing. Just notice each in-breath and each out-breath as they follow one another. Your breath can function as an anchor to bring you into the present and to help you to become more still and more fully aware.
Allow your field of awareness to expand around your breathing so that it includes a sense of your body as a whole, including posture and facial expression. The breathing space provides a way to step out of Automatic Pilot mode and to reconnect with the present moment. The key skill is to maintain awareness from moment to moment, nothing else!
[Adapted from: Williams and Penman (2011). ‘Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World]