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How to deal with Grief, Start with deep breathing exercises.

Breathing exercises are one of the most helpful things you can do when you are grieving or stressed


If you are grieving, you may notice that your breathing is very shallow, or that you are holding your breath without even realizing it. You may suddenly find yourself gasping for a breath as if you’ve been underwater, reaching for the surface. This is not abnormal in grieving. Grief affects every part of us, including our breathing. Here is your chance to learn to breathe through grief.
Grief affects every part of us, including our breathing. Here is your chance to learn to breathe through grief. Finding a quiet time at any point in your day to simply breathe can be a wonderfully healing tool. Anytime you notice that you are feeling anxious, particularly tired, or that you are holding your breath, take a moment—right then and there—to breathe.
In moments when we experience stress, breathing becomes quick, short, and erratic. The result is not enough oxygen reaching the different organs of the body. People can become lightheaded.  They can hyperventilate, faint, or become sick. Consequently, the body stops running as smoothly as it was designed. A prolonged period of stress can cause some serious ailments such as migraine headaches, loss of sexual desire, irritable bowel syndrome, sleeplessness, and interruption of memory.
When we are upset, people will remind us to take several, long, deep breaths. This regulates our breathing which allows oxygen back into the body so we feel better again.

Try an expansive breathing exercise called the Three-Part Breath. It will deepen your connection to your body and help you bring conscious awareness to the present moment.
Sit upright in a comfortable chair with your feet placed side by side on the floor. Close your eyes.

  • Place one hand on your belly, with your pinky finger just above your belly button.

  • Start to pay attention to the rise and fall of your belly. What you are feeling is your diaphragm, working to draw air in and out of your lungs.

  • Notice that as you breathe in, it feels like a balloon is being filled with your hand. As you breathe out it should feel like the balloon is deflating.

  • Place your other hand on your chest. You will want to try to keep this hand as still as possible and to just let the diaphragm do all of the work of breathing. While you are at it, keep your shoulders relaxed.

  • Inhale slowly to the count of three.

  • Then exhale slowly to the count of three, thinking the word "relax" as you do so.

  • Stay focused on the action of your diaphragm. Your bottom hand should move outward as you fill your lungs with air and move inward as you exhale.

Simple Deep Breathing
For this breathing practice, sit in a comfortable position with your hands relaxed, either in your lap or resting on your thighs or knees. Then begin.

  • Relax your shoulders. Pull them up toward your ears, and then roll them back and down, creating space between your shoulders and your ears. Allow your shoulders to relax.

  • Breathe normally in and out for a few breaths. Notice how your belly rises and falls easily as you breathe naturally. Your chest should not expand a great deal as you breathe in and out. If you like, you can place a hand on your abdomen to help notice the movement as you breathe in and out.

  • When you are ready, breathe in—and on the next exhalation, breathe out slowly from your nose, counting to five. During this exhalation, tighten your abdominal muscles, and pull your diaphragm inward, toward your spine, squeezing all the excess air out of your body. When all the air is squeezed out, pause for two counts, and inhale slowly again, to the count of five, allowing your belly to expand as you breathe in. A very useful tip in learning to breathe deep into your belly is to imagine you are about to take a deep inhalation of your most favorite smell. When we smell something delicious, we almost always instinctively belly breathe.

  • If you are comfortable doing so, close your eyes and continue to repeat this easy deep belly breath for 5 to 10 times.

  • If you find that your mind wanders during this exercise, don’t worry. Simply bring your focus back to your breathing and begin your counts to 5 again.

You may find it helpful to think of a happy color (such as yellow or pink) or a calming color (like blue or green) as you breathe in and a dreary color (like grey or tan) as you breathe out. Or, you might choose to imagine breathing in a calming pleasant emotion such as peace or love as you inhale and breathing out stress or anxiety as you exhale.
As your awareness of your breath increases, it will become easier to practice your deep breathing without focusing so much of your attention on it.

There is nothing we can do to escape the stress and strains from grieving a loss. But deep breathing can help you take control of your life at a time when it feels so out of control.

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