A Therapist’s Tote of Techniques: Deep Breathing!

When I mentioned I was going to be sharing my “best therapeutic techniques,” I imagine some of you were surprised when I said deep breathing would be first on my list to share. This should tell you how important it is to know good breathing technique and how often it is used in treating all kinds of symptoms- anxiety, anger, nervousness, worry, and so on. (By the way, this image is meant to get you in the mood to relax!)

I’ll also share some fun ways to teach kids about deep breathing exercises!

5 Reasons to Practice Deep Breathing

  1. It’s FREE! There is no cost for you to learn or apply this technique and it is an excellent tool for stress and anger management.
  2. It tricks your body into thinking it is in a calm state (as opposed to the fight or flight state).When we are in a state of stress, our bodies are in a “fight or flight” response, meaning it is reacting as if there is a threat present and we either need to stay and fight the threat or run away. When our bodies are in this state, our heart rate rises and our breathing becomes rapid and shallow.
  3. Deep Breathing gives you energy! The act of breathing deeply helps to deliver nutrient rich oxygen throughout your body.
  4. This delivery of oxygen also helps to eliminate waist in the body an help maintain healthy cells.
  5. It’s a useful technique to have ready when the time comes. Practice now so when you are feeling angry, anxious, etc., you will be prepared to use it!

When To Use Deep Breathing

  • If you are nervous about an important meeting, public speaking engagement, or personal situation you are about to face.
  • When you feel angry. You may notice your heart beating faster, face getting hot, and an urge to react to the source of your anger.
  • If you are feeling an urge to do something you don’t want to do.
  • Anytime you feel the need to relax and de-stress.

Teaching about deep breathing proved to be difficult without a visual aid. Unfortunately, I could not find one that I was comfortable adding to my blog. So… for your entertainment, I made a short video of my own to teach you proper deep breathing technique (no laughing!).

I have found that teaching kids about deep breathing is similar to teaching them other things… you have to trick them into thinking they are not learning or practicing something important! Here are some fun activities to help your kids learn about deep breathing. Once they learn the skill, teach them how and when to apply deep breathing.
Blowing a Pinwheel
Such a simple, yet fun toy! Who doesn’t love to watch the pinwheel colors mix together as it spins?
  1. Have your child take a deep breath (remind them slow and deep)
  2. Hold their breath for 2 seconds
  3. Release their breath by blowing the pinwheel
  4. Repeat 2 more times

Candle and Flower

  1. Gather together a candle (you can light it if you feel your child is old enough) and a flower
  2. Starting with the flower, have your child take a deep breath (remind them slow and deep) through their nose as if they are smelling the flower
  3. When they are breathing in the flower, have them pretend they are breathing in good, calm feelings
  4. Hold their breath for 2 seconds
  5. Release their breath by slowly blowing out the candle, pretending that they are breathing out the angry, yucky feelings
  6. Repeat 2 more times

References: www.webmd.com www.kidsrelaxation.com http://www.stress-and-relaxation.com/deep-breathing.html

You may also like: A Therapist’s Tote of Techniques

Author: Kim Peterson, MA, LPC-S, RPT

Kim is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, and Registered Play Therapist in Dallas, Texas.

11 thoughts on “A Therapist’s Tote of Techniques: Deep Breathing!”

    1. Thank you very much your techniques are very useful and easy to perform and kids really love them!

  1. Kim thanks so much for all of this helpful info in one place! I can’t wait to make a pinwheel with one of my kiddo clients and teach the breathing technique:)

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