Help for Introverts and Others
Everything is opening up and it’s really exciting (right?)!!! We’ve all been isolated… in-person interactions and performance opportunities have been limited. So, let’s get out there!
Oh gee whilikers, I think I’m having re-entry anxiety… gulp.
So, let’s say you have a performance coming up and you want to settle yourself.
Find a comfortable place to sit or stand. This could be your car, a bus, a train, a crowded room, an empty room, a yoga mat, your office chair… you get the picture — you don’t need a special place or time!!!! You can do this with your eyes open or closed and it’s not disruptive to those around you.
Lengthen Your Exhale to Relax & Focus
I use this simple breathing exercise.
- Try breathing through your nose if you’re able to do so easily. If you have allergies or are stuffy for any reason, feel free to breathe through your mouth. Make every breath slow and easy
- Inhale for a count of two into your belly
- Exhale from your belly for a count of three
- Inhale into your belly for a count of two
- See if you can exhale from your belly for a count of four
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 for two minutes. Stop if you experience any discomfort.
You’ve made your exhale longer than your inhale and drawn your breath low in your belly rather than keeping it high in your chest. If your exhale isn’t precisely twice as long as your inhale, that’s not super important. You can change the way you count your breaths to suit your own rhythm. With practice, your counts might get longer as your breaths get longer.
Make sure that your breaths are soft, gentle and easy. You don’t want to make these your biggest most triumphant breaths. Remember, this is to relax and release your stress. If you feel out of breath or anxious, return to normal breathing.
I like to practice this for 5-10 minutes at a time as a tune-up now that I’ve been doing it for a while. See what works for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about “breathing,” Max Strom has a great Ted Talk that I’ve included below: