Stay Calm During the Holidays With This Easy Breathing Technique

Written By

Jess VanderWier
December 1, 2017

This article has been reviewed by Nurtured First’s team of child development experts.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

We know that although this is an amazing season filled with love, it can also be an incredibly difficult season, filled with anxiety, financial stress, grief, and relational difficulties! This blog shares a breathing technique you can use to keep a calm mind and body! This breathing strategy can be used every day of the year, but it really comes in handy during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. 

Use the 3-4-5 Method to Stay Calm

In one of my earlier posts, we talked about different strategies you can use to fight what we call ANTs (automatic negative thoughts). As you may remember, most people experience ANTs at some point in their life. Some examples of ANTS include: “I’m not good enough” or “No one likes me”. These thoughts can take over our mind and become so frequent that we start to believe them!

During busy or stressful times (such as the holiday season), you may find yourself experiencing ANTs more and more. Often times, ANTs are accompanied by self doubt and anxiety which are very powerful and can even cause your body to respond (ie. racing heart, shortness of breath).

In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of deep breathing in keeping a calm mind and body. The 3-4-5 method is a simple strategy that you can use to practice deep breathing, quiet your negative thoughts, and reduce anxiety!

Your Body and Mind Are Connected

Your mind and body are closely connected and when one is stressed, the other will be as well. When you experience negative or anxious thoughts, your body will respond through physical symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure.

One way to break this cycle is to focus on regulating your breathing. When you are anxious, your breathing will become irregular and you may start to hyperventilate (which will worsen your symptoms!). This is because breathing is a key factor in the regulation of your entire body!  

So, how do you control breathing?

This Will Calm You in 12 Seconds

The 3-4-5 method is a great way to regulate your breathing. This breathing technique is based on the connection between your mind and body. When your mind is stressed, so is your body, and vise versa. But this also means that if you calm your body, you can calm your mind!

To calm your body, use the 3-4-5 method of deep breathing. All you have to do is:

  • Breathe in for 3 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  • Breathe out for 5 seconds

That’s it! This simple strategy will allow you to take deep, counted breaths to calm your body and bring it back to its relaxed state! Your heart rate will slow, you will get consistent blood flow to your body, your muscles will relax, your blood pressure will lower, etc… Overall, your body will return back to a healthy balance!

And when your body is relaxed, your mind quiets and relaxes as well! Giving your attention to your breathing rate will remove focus from your anxious thoughts, which will take away their power and promote positive and encouraging thinking.

This technique has been incredibly helpful for me when I have trouble sleeping at night! If you struggle with anxious thoughts around bedtime, use this technique each time you have an anxious thought come into your mind. It will help settle your body, and allow you to feel calm and ready for sleep!

Use this technique, it only takes 12 seconds, whenever you are stressed out this holiday season to help keep you calm and to help you enjoy this time of year!

Final Thoughts

When your ANTs lead to self doubt and anxiety, you can fight back by using the 3-4-5 method of deep breathing! All you have to do is: Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, and breathe out for 5 seconds! 

This method will:

  • Regulate breathing to calm your body and mind
  • Focus your mind on breathing rather than ANTs
  • Reduce your physical symptoms of anxiety

For more information on reducing anxious thoughts look here and here!

We cannot wait to share some practical information with you that will make your holiday’s merry and bright! 🙂

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    Article By

    Jess VanderWier
    Jess is a seasoned Registered Psychotherapist with a deep commitment to enhancing emotional well-being in children and families. Holding a Master's in Counselling Psychology, Jess has extensive clinical experience in guiding parents through their children's intense emotions, sleep struggles, anxiety, and other challenges with empathy and understanding. In addition to individual sessions, she is known for her work educating parents on social media through @nurturedfirst. Outside of her professional life, Jess enjoys the peace of nature hikes and spending as much time as possible enjoying her family.