Anxiety is paralyzing. It is a fear-based monster moving through the bodies of all ages
causing many degrees of physical and emotional paralysis. Anyone who has experienced a panic attack or generalized anxiety attack knows this and knows the fear that goes with it.

Unfortunately, in today’s times it seems to have populated itself among our young,
showing up in OCD, phobias and generalized anxiety – which means fear dictates their lives instead of a young healthy sense of self. So, what is a healthy sense of self and what is to be done about this?

Your sense of self is your center it is where yourself lives. This is true for all of us not just the young, but I have found it very interesting in my practice that it is the young who are most open to putting into practice a simple technique that will bring them to their center. It will not develop their sense of self, but it will bring them to their center, so that they can be in control rather than be controlled.

Hence, have the opportunity to slowly develop their own sense of self, which becomes stymied by fear. This technique is a simple breathing technique – yet not so simplistic. It is in the slowness of the breathing that brings about the correct response. One must count to six or seven as one breaths in and the same as one breaths out. As if one were taking the air in through their feet, all the way up – hold for a second and then release just as slow back down through their feet.

One can do this in the face of an abuser – someone who is berating or humiliating them
instead of responding in tears or anger – rather stay in control instead and respond rationally as desired. Whether it is a teacher, parent, sibling, friend or partner – it does not matter – the breathing will keep you centered and allow you to get through it.

For years the Buddhist population have used this technique to bring themselves to their
center so why is it so surprising that it would work for others as well. It is not a lark. Yoga breathing will bring you to your center if it is diligently put into practice. The difference is the slowness in breathing verses regular breathing. This slowness causes a physical response opening needed airways that carry oxygen to the brain hence, enabling one to think rationally rather than the frozen confusion and panic that usually evolves from anxiety.

I find young people are able to put this technique into effect more so than adults for some reason. Perhaps it is because they are eager to learn and looking for answers. But because of this, they often are able to put their anxiety to rest by centering themselves, taking control and moving on through their lives.

Sandra Reinhart is a Psychotherapist with a private practice in Babylon.

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