Breathing is a precious gift.
We don’t have to think about it, of course, but what happens when we do it with deliberate intention?
SABER is an easy flow to put into play whenever you find yourself fighting an urge, temptation, inner mind chatter, or when you’re experiencing an emotion that you don’t prefer.
By using breath deliberately, you are self-regulating and calming your mind and body.
Let’s recap the SABER up to this point.
By saying STOP out loud, you’re able to pause a power struggle. This allows the moment you need to acknowledge the thinking by bringing the awareness forward.
As you move through the SABER, you will naturally take a breath after acknowledging the thoughts to release some of the stress.
Now let’s jump back to my example from the previous two blogs of the power struggle I experienced at the grocery store. I felt tempted by a bottle of Chardonnay in the seafood department and mad at the store for placing it in my path. By saying STOP out loud and giving myself a moment to pause, I could see my thinking clearly — a former belief pattern that I reach for wine when I’m stressed. After acknowledging these thoughts, I took a few deep breaths.
This allowed me a moment of calm and a sense of control.
Now it’s your turn. Are you ready to practice together a few breathing techniques to try?
- Self-controlled deep and deliberate breaths – At your pace, breathe in slowly through your nose and exhale through your nose. You can also choose to exhale through your mouth as if you are blowing through a straw. Stay with the breath for a count of 3 or more rounds or until you feel a sense of calm.
- Box breathing – begin with a four-second inhale. Hold for four seconds. Exhale for four, hold for four. It’s helpful to imagine a box as you do this. Repeat this for a minimum of three rounds.
- Weil Method (or sometimes referred to as 4, 7, 8) – Dr. Weil’s method is similar to box breathing, but with a different breath count. To begin, empty all air in your lungs. Inhale for four seconds through your nose and hold for seven seconds. On the exhale, blow out through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat the 4,7,8, method for a total of four rounds.
By breathing with intention, you’re calming your autonomic nervous system while moving from the sympathetic, your flight and fight response, and into the desired parasympathetic response, also known as rest and digest.
Notice how you feel. Are you more relaxed? If you need to, continue with the breathing. Closing your eyes can also help you feel more comfortable.
By calming your nervous system and moving into a parasympathetic state, you’ll be ready for the next step; embrace.
To learn more about the SABER flow in a narrative form, be sure to download the book chapter, Living in the Gray – A Power Struggle Within.
See you next week as we continue with the E in SABER, Embrace.