I've seen firsthand the benefits of mindful breathing. Whenever we are anxious, our fear center hijacks our higher brain. The trauma also makes us forget that then it is not now because something went wrong in our brains. In this way we experience the past anew, often up to the sights, sounds and smells. We all have our share of fear and trauma, so mindful breathing is one of the most important tools everyone should practice.
What I have found, however, is that many of my clients who have attended mindfulness or meditation events have actually been breathing incorrectly.
Here's why. When we are stressed or triggered, we often hold our breath or suck in our belly. Also, remember how often we say to each other, "Breathe in! Suck in your belly!" when we want a particularly flattering photo. Unsurprisingly, when told to breathe consciously, we do the same. This leads to a feeling of tightness in our chests which, when picked up by our brain, leads to a sensation that we are stressed. It also triggers hyperventilation. It's no wonder we feel worse.
Now amplify that 7,200 times. Suppose one breath per second for two hours of meditation. Of course our chests are heavy and we are dazed.
From personal and professional experience, I have found that three breaths are enough to reset our fear centers. As long as we breathe properly.
Regardless of how long you want to breathe, let's start with the basics of breathing. When you inhale, you fill your stomach with air and inflate it like a balloon. And when you breathe out, you deflate your air body. If you do this correctly, all your attention will be so focused on the passage of air that you have no mental range to think about.