Breathing to Calm Myself


A few examples when calmness is needed are when driving a car, on the telephone, dealing with the public and disciplining children.

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | August 19, 2015

Getting calm when I was angry was difficult but it was important for my children to be safe.

Anger used to slip up on me until I learned to recognize the signs. 1-2-3 and I was ready to spit nails. For me it was an increase in heartrate, shallow breathing and a tightening feeling in my chest. There was no single event that would make me angry; it was an accumulation of things throughout the day. (Other parents in my group reported headaches and a pounding feeling in their heads; a few said their blood pressure would go through up.)

By attending Parents Anonymous regularly I picked up several things that helped; one is called Pursed Lip Breathing, also called the Two-Four Purse. This also helped me during asthma attacks when I would get anxious, something I had to overcome as an asthmatic.

Pursed lip breathing works to improve the exchange of gasses in the lungs; when I was anxious or angry, gasses in my lungs were out of balance from shallow breathing. I learned to breathe in slowly and count to two and breathe out to the count of four and repeat. Counting to four pushes the carbon dioxide out and the count of two brings in new oxygen. (Puckering your lips when blowing outward can help.)In a short time I would begin to feel more calm and in control. By practicing the Two-Four Purse breathing technique, it helped me let kids be kids while I regained control of myself.

This short video with Anne Crump can be helpful in calming; her count is four breaths to six but the method is the same.

A Calming Breathing Exercise (4:30)

During your day – watching TV, interacting with your children or driving in traffic – pay attention to your breathing. When the jerk cuts you off in traffic and honks, begin the Two-Four Purse and focus on remaining calm. Do what works for you!

PHOTO: Courtesy of Eutah Mizushima & Unsplash.
PHOTO: Courtesy of TheSomervilleFoundation & Anne Crump Under CC License.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered extensively for more than twenty years in children's and families' issues with Parents Anonymous. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and the Soup to Nuts blog and "Parent Rap - Soup to Nuts" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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