Managing Anxiety: Color Breathing Technique We all have experienced anxiety at some point in our lives, whether it was preparing for an important job interview, asking someone on a date, or giving a presentation in front of a group of people. It can seem very scary or uncomfortable but anxiety is a natural part of life that helps us to prepare for intense situations. Anxiety increases our heart rate and breathing, focuses the blood flow to areas that need it most, and causes our brain to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol so that we are more focused and ready to face the situation head on. While this helps us in the short term, chronic anxiety can have devastating impacts on our physical and mental health over time.
If you have lived with long-term stress and anxiety, your body is constantly activated and in fight or flight mode. This constant state of arousal and tension in the body can cause a wide range of issues such as headaches, sore and achy muscles, fatigue, irregular breathing, and even an increased chance of heart disease and depression. On top of this, anxiety often is a result of overthinking about the past or being unsure of the future, which makes living in the present rather difficult. This is why breathing and grounding techniques are very helpful to bring you back to the here and now and helps aid you in relaxing your body and mind. There are several useful techniques for managing anxiety, but we’re going to explore how to implement the Color Breathing Technique in your daily routine.
The color breathing technique is a simple and quick activity that combines breathing and grounding exercises used for managing anxiety. The breathing portion helps to reduce stress, heart rate, and return your body to a relaxed state, releasing tension. Meanwhile, the grounding portion helps to pull your thinking back to the present, allowing yourself to ease out of those spiraling negative thoughts. Simply put, color breathing involves imaging a relaxing color entering your body while you take a deep breath and when you breathe out, visualizing the stress and tension leaving your body through an unfavorable color.
To get started learning how to manage your anxiety with the color breathing technique, find a safe and comfortable position, which will allow you to relax your body and close your eyes. Take a moment to check in with each part of your body and try to relax your muscles and release your shoulders. Begin focusing on your breathing but don’t try to control it yet, just notice your pace and listen to the airflow. After a few moments, start breathing in deeply but comfortably. Try to keep a rhythmic pace of breathing naturally and relaxed but still deep enough that you feel your abdomen expand. It is suggested to inhale for 3 seconds through your nose and exhaling out of your mouth for 4 seconds but please remember to go at your own pace and if you feel dizzy just go back to your normal breathing until you feel better. Then adjust it according to what works best for you.
As you start to feel more relaxed, choose a color that you find soothing. When you inhale imagine that color entering your body and letting that color wash over you, engulfing your stress and tension. For some people, that color can be blue, purple, green, or yellow but find what resonates best with you. Feel that color, traveling through your body parts allowing your muscles and thought processes to relax. As you exhale, imagine a color you associate with stress, such as red or gray, leaving your body and along with it, the anxiety and stress you have built up. Continue to do this for several minutes.
When you are ready, slowly start to bring yourself back to your physical surroundings. You might want to start out by wiggling your toes and fingers, slowly rolling your shoulders and neck, and when you’re ready, opening your eyes. Take a minute or two to appreciate how your body is feeling before going about your day. Maybe think about what the color you chose represents to you at this time and why you chose it.
This color breathing exercise used to manage anxiety can be implemented into your daily self care routine to help you de-stress in the morning or before bed but it can also be used when you feel your emotions escalating or anxiety increasing. You can modify this exercise to implement it safely in a variety of places so you can utilize it whenever you may need it most. Anxiety can leave the individual feeling “stuck” and feeling unable to accomplish even their normal daily activities. By incorporating techniques such as color breathing into your life, you build the muscle that helps you to challenge your anxious thoughts consciously until it becomes strong enough that it happens subconsciously. You deserve to live a life where you feel more in control of how anxiety and stress impacts your mind and body.