HELP FOR STRESS DISORDERS

By Eleanor Eggers, Ph.D., LP, BCB, (Senior Fellow)

              Lesson 5

This lesson deals with focusing on your relaxed breathing. Doing so is an extremely relaxing thing to do.  You will find that your breathing is already very calm and relaxed and that passively paying attention to it will deepen your state of relaxation and make your breathing pattern even more calm and relaxed.


Relaxed breathing while being still is calm, regular, automatic, abdominal, and shallow.  Since it is automatic, it requires the expenditure of no effort whatsoever.  Breathing is regulated by the autonomic nervous system and therefore happens automatically.  In other words, your body breathes by itself. From this idea, we have the formula “It breathes me.”  By abdominal we mean that the abdomen rises slightly when one inhales as a result of breathing into the lower part of the lungs. This pushes down on the abdomen, causing it to expand. Relaxed breathing is quite shallow because the body does not need much air when one is lying still in a  state of deep relaxation.  


Please begin by reviewing the information given under “Basic Information” and in Lesson 1.


Lie down on your bed or recliner chair and focus your attention in a very passive way on your arms and legs.


Say to yourself (think) once:                   

  • My arms and legs are heavy and warm.                   
  • I am completely calm.         


Switch your focus of attention to your heart and say to yourself one to three times:                 

  • My heartbeat is calm and regular.          


Switch your focus of attention to your breathing and notice    how calm, regular, automatic, effortless, abdominal, and          shallow it is.


Say to yourself over and over slowly for about a minute:

  • It breathes me.                  


Then say to yourself several times:

  • I am completely calm.                 

            


You can stop saying the formulas and then spend the rest of the twenty minutes just enjoying being in this state of deep relaxation.  Follow the directions given in Lesson 1 on how to maintain a completely passive state.


At the end of the twenty minutes, be sure to cancel by making two fists, bending both arms, taking a deep breath, and then opening your eyes.