Learn How to Breathe
By John Cloud
This may sound silly, but as Dr. Martin Rossman writes in his new book The Worry Solution, “I never imagined when I went to medical school how much time I was going to spend simply teaching many of my patients how to breathe.” (Dr. Rossman is a long-time mind-body specialist who teaches at the University of California; the book has garnered praise from the likes of Drs. Andrew Weil and Dean Ornish.) Breathing, of course, is automatic. But when we worry — especially in these impoverished days, when we sense a threat to our jobs the way prey animals fear being eaten — we freeze our breath, however momentarily. But humans have the ability to control breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing — sticking out your belly when you inhale — is one simple way to do this. It activates the parasympathetic sympathetic nervous system, which relaxes you.