Deep Breathing Exercise for Anxiety and PTSD

Deep Breathing exercise

Deep Breathing is a skill that helps your mind and body to relax by breathing correctly and focusing on your breath and not your mind. This skill is good for people struggling with anxiety and panic, PTSD and a variety of other psychological symptoms.

To do deep breathing, keep you shoulders still and imagine a balloon inside of your belly. Imagine sucking through a straw so that when you breathing IN your belly EXPANDS and when you breath OUT your belly DEFLATES.

Try practicing for a few minutes daily to work on reducing your overall anxiety level and work on teaching your body and mind how to calm and relax.

Deep breathing skill used in a variety of treatment modalities; but is especially a cornerstone of DBT which is an evidenced based treatment for mental health struggles. To learn more click here.

Watch this video for instruction on how to perform the skill of deep breathing.

stress and anxiety

Anxiety and Stress

We live in a very demanding world. Anxiety and stress rises because we are often expected to be experts at everything.
Expert workers
Expert husbands and wives
Expert mothers and fathers
Expert friends and relatives….and so on.

All of the various hats we play in life can be overwhelming and the weight seems to pile up quickly. The masks that we wear may help us to keep a positive image of ourselves to others, but inside we begin to lose a sense of self. As we continue to keep this image despite losing ourselves, the anxiety becomes greater.

Relax.

We hear this all the time! How do I relax? I don’t know. Therapy teaches you how to relax, care for yourself and minimize your stress and anxiety. Don’t let the weight continue to pile up.

Therapy doesn’t just teach you skills. It works deeper than that. Therapy can explore the root causes of your struggles that may come from trauma, relationships, beliefs about yourself and so on. Therapy will not just help you learn how to relax but understand and know the deeper you. It will help you to accept you and be you. When we are our authentic selves, the stress and anxiety dissipate and you will find yourself leading a happier, healthier life.

Seek assistance and you will be amazed by what you can accomplish.

Life transitions

Life Transitions

Are you going through a divorce or break-up? Did you lose a loved one? a job? a house? Not sure what you want to do with your life? Uncertain of what path you want to take? Life transitions happen to everyone. Due to the loss that comes with each life transition, it is normal to become depressed and anxious as a result. When people go through these life transitions they have often felt lost and alone.

Utilizing therapy can help you to gain the skills that you need to effectively move through this transition along with future changes. I have had success in helping people grieve their losses and get their needs met in their new role.

"Time doesn't heal all wounds" page about trauma therapy/counseling

What is trauma and how do I know if I have it?

What is trauma?

I sum up trauma simply by explaining it as a significant negative life experience that affects you deeply.  Often times, trauma can affect us emotionally, psychologically, and physically to the point that it seems to be getting in the way of your life – relationships, jobs, hobbies, personal growth, etc.

Trauma can be anything to anyone really. A trauma to someone might not be a trauma to another person so if your questioning and thinking that you might have trauma, you probably do. Don’t feel discouraged though, it isn’t a bad thing or a label or something that you can’t move past and that’s what I’m hear for – to help you move past the trauma and be your authentic self.

Trauma isn’t something that defines you, but rather it is something that happens to you.

“Trauma? I mean, my parents didn’t beat me or anything like that”

Again, a lot of things can be considered traumatic and I’ve seen people downplay the events that have happened to them in their lives because they weren’t beaten or compare it to some other event that they consider traumatic.

Surprisingly enough – or not surprisingly depending on how you look at it, but most of the trauma that I work on with my clients have to do with attachment trauma.

What’s attachment trauma?

First, we must understand attachment. Secure attachment is formed between an infant and its primary caregiver when the infant receives love, soothing, smiles, touch, eye contact, in addition to basic needs being met (food, diaper changes, etc).

A variety of traumas can happen in infancy and childhood that can lead to a child to not develop a secure attachment with his/her primary caregiver. Separation from the caregiver, neglect or abuse from the caregiver and that includes not just physical and sexual but also emotional and verbal as well. The child learns to sooth and develop his/her esteem, trust, and confidence based on the attachment with the primary caregiver. If these needs are not met attachment trauma can develop.

It is through impaired attachment that negative core beliefs about oneself can really take a strong hold in a persons psyche.

Attachment issues can result in a variety of problems in adulthood including issues in romantic relationships, friendships, issues on the job, as well as poor eating and self care habits.

How can trauma affect you?

Trauma often affects people though symptoms such as

  • flashbacks
  • nightmares
  • avoidance
  • physical anxiety symptoms (shakiness, sweating, increased heart rate)
  • isolation
  • feel numb
  • hypervigalence
  • dissociation

If these symptoms sound like you, you may be suffering from PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder).

Not everyone that experiences trauma develops PTSD. Sometimes people will suffer from other anxiety symptoms, or depression, but the root is of problem is still within the unhealed traumatic event.

Time does not heal all wounds…..

When traumatic events are not properly healed they become locked in our brain… in our nervous system.  When someone experiences multiple traumatic events then the brain experiences a host of unhealed memories.  The more memories someone has and the more intense they are, the more symptoms someone is likely to experience.  Therefore the severity of the effects of trauma can have a large range!

How do you treat trauma?

There are multiple ways that therapists go about trauma treatment and some of them have been very successful. I use a method called EMDR – Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. I use this method because I have found it to be helpful when other modalities have not been successful. EMDR can stop the above symptoms by helping the person to heal from the memory, the beliefs about the memory, and the physical sensations from the memory. By addressing all of these areas, a complete healing process occurs resulting in remission of symptoms and overall improvement of health and well being.

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Will therapy help me?

“Will therapy help me?”

“Of course therapy will help you!!” is the first thing I want to say, but I refrain.

I am obviously biased. I wouldn’t be a therapist if I knew it wasn’t helpful.

I might say however,

“What is the problem?”

“What are your goals?”

“What do you hope to gain from therapy?”

That information can help us determine how therapy can be beneficial for you. Or, maybe we will discover that you are looking for a detective, or a psychic, and in that case, I am not the one to come to.

The truth is therapy is hard work, but as your therapist, it is my job is to help you along the way.

Unfortunately I can’t “fix” you or give you the answers or tell you what to do.  What I can do is help you to solve your problem and provide you with the tools that you need to become successful in accomplishing your goals.

“But don’t crazy people go to therapy?”

“If I come to you does that mean I’m crazy?”

Well, if we work together, you’ll have a better understanding of why you are the way you are.  Plus, therapy will help you to be more equipped to change the things that you want to change about yourself and learn to love the rest.

Oh – and by the time we’re done ( likely much sooner) you will no longer feel crazy!

Did I answer your question?  “Will therapy help me?”  If you’re reading this post there probably is something you want to change and therapy can very well help you in that process.

Good Luck and I look forward to hearing from you.