While doing the deep breathing I became aware of areas of tension in my body and with each deep breath I could feel some of that tension releasing. I did struggle with wanting to close my eyes! I really appreciated the end with focusing on the meditation bell until I couldn’t hear it any longer, I think that in itself would help to refocus my thoughts if I were to become triggered or upset about something.
I have been practicing hindbrain breathing without thinking about it. I used it to relieve stress and deep breathing is also relaxing. I can one day teach people hindbrain breathing to relieve stress and to find comfort.
I regularly practice deep breathing and am a great believer in its capacity to assist us particularly with anxiety. I did not find this exercise difficult. I find breathing calming and that it always slows my heart rate. I teach people breathing techniques already and find that many people are pleasantly surprised at how helpful they find the practice of deep breathing or mindful breathing.
That was a nice way to start the day. I noticed my shoulders were a little tight today and focused on relaxing them.
At the beginning of last semester I asked one of my classes to practice sitting quietly for 5 minutes each day. As they got the hang of it we added a little more time and then added deep breathing. We used the term “being mindful” when doing this every day. One day a student said she had an anxiety attack the night before as she was trying to go to sleep and she said she stopped to breathe and “be mindful.” Many of her classmates added that they too had been using the technique to help themselves.
I have a meditative practice that I “try” to do a few times a week. Some weeks I more successful than others and some sessions I get more benefits from. However, on days when I can work in 5-15 minutes I do find I am more aware, calm and responsive to my work, myself and my family. I have had some additional training in Reiki (energy medicine) and mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques that I have incorporated into my work as a child life specialist. I really appreciated the element of keeping our eyes open and although I personally found it hard to do that (but its the end of a long day for me so maybe I am tired) I do gives kids the choice to keep eyes open or to close them. I like the openness of your language and the freedom to just let it happen. Allowing thoughts to come and not adding pressure to be “focused.” I think in many explanations or practices people are told to “empty” their brain, for most people this is incredibly difficult and not really realistic.
Is this the same language you would use with teens or would you simplify the language or preface with an explanation that explains the process in a developmentally appropriate way? For some kids it could be difficult to define relaxed or calm as that may be elusive to a child who feels in constant threat.
What I found interesting was the cue to keep eyes open.
As a practitioner of meditation for over 25 years I have always struggled durning periods to keep my eyes closed .
This can be a difficult challenge in a group setting and this practice reminded me we don’t have to always cut that we can offer a mindful practice with our eyes open.
Opps I meant we don’t have to use that cue
Taking time to sit for five minutes and practice this was hard for me. I have a hard time taking a moment for myself. However, after a few practices I was able to make it longer each time. I think this could be a very valuable tool for not only myself, but for my students after lunch, before tests, or just when I can tell they need a moment, I liked being able to keep my eyes open and orienting myself it felt less awkward.
This was a pleasant experience for me. It was a nice way to end a long day of work. I feel relaxed and ready for sleep. I use similar breathing techniques with children and find it to be a very effective practice.
This was very relaxing for me, though I nodded off once or twice. Next time I’ll do it earlier in the day! At the end I felt quite calm.
I am not sure if it was because it was late afternoon, but this made me very sleepy. I felt I was fighting the urge to just close my eyes instead of letting them roam and then rest naturally. I did not feel much at first but as time passed I was able to focus on breathing and the sensations in my body. I was aware of what my stomach felt like breathing in and out and even the movement of my clothes and hand as I breathed in and out. I like that we were told in the beginning that we could keep our eyes open. Just in the short time I have been working with teens I would say they would like that idea much better for safety and it would not feel so cheesy as other breathing techniques. I would like to better understand the use and benefits of this technique before I continued using it and then teaching it, but it was nice to try this out. I think it’s nap time! 🙂
Loved the idea of how the part of the brain that it helps to focus when using the meditation. Really wanted to close my eyes as tried this when I was feeling tired. Found it very relaxing the bell I enjoyed also. Would definitely practice this more.
I hadn’t realized that I was clenching my jaw until I started focusing on my breathing. I appreciate the fact that I don’t have to close my eyes, I actually feel safer in this process not having to close my eyes.
The breathing exercise was rejuvenating. I experienced a very relaxed, calm and nurturing feelings. I realized that I have a lot of tension in certain areas of my body. This exercise made me aware of different areas of my body and while focusing on my breathing it allowed me to be in tune with my thoughts feelings and reduced anxiety. The more I relaxed, the more clarity I had with different thoughts. It was really interesting. This is something I think I need to use for self more often and actually for clients.
yes, positive experience, looking around an almost empty public library, slowed breathing down to gut movements and felt deeper than shallow chest breathing, felt calmer and similar to mindfulness, with focus on breath. Thanks, running a few days behind due to poor connection, and recent London fire… and self-care
I have been trying to improve my self-care through meditation recently, and this serves as a good reminder to pause and be present. I think the directive to keep your eyes open would make it more accessible to the people I support that may not feel secure or safe to close their eyes for an extended period.
I have been attempting to do deep breathing exercises for the last 2 months. Key word is “attempting” because I realized that it is not something you just sit down and do perfect the first time. I liked keeping my eyes open because I usually lose focus faster if they are closed or I begin to fall asleep. With the hindbrain breathing I still had a hard time focusing at first, but slowly adjusted. I noticed that I was breathing faster than I even realized so this exercise helped me slow that down too, which helped me relax my muscles. I was a bit tense (not really in a specific area) and slowing the breathing helped me release a bit of that tension. Definitely a fan of the eyes open technique.
This high brain breathing exercise is a good exercise for self care, we tend to only focus on our clients and not our self majority of the time. I believe that if we do not seek self care for our self how will we be able to be a support for our client if we are not able to care for our self.
This exercise was quiet relaxing, I felt relieve of all stress and focus on myself. I was able to feel relax and free of my surroundings and entering into a tranquil place. This high brain breathing exercise will also works great for clients, I enjoyed the part of having my eyes open and be able to look around, so for clients who have had traumatic experiences by having them using the technique of having their eyes open will be perfect for them, because once having their eyes close their mind will wonder off to the traumatic scene that they had. I will use this technique as well more often for myself.
This is a great practice to use with the high school I am currently working with, all are affected by trauma of some sort. I discovered early on with this group that having them close their eyes and practice mindful breathing was not a good way to start. Instead I would have them find an object in the room to focus on and then we would do our mindful breathing. This audio gives me an extended version of that practice.
After doing the hindbrain breathing technique i found it to be very pleasant. It gave me a feeling of relaxation and made me become more aware of my surrounding. I hope to one day teach this technique to my clients that i work with on a daily basis. I believed that this will help them to relax and calm down which will better assist them to make better choices and have a better discussion with social worker and family members.
As some people mentioned above, it was a little unusual to do a meditation exercise with eyes opened. However, it was easier to keep thought wondering in my head, because I was looking at the objects around me and focusing on those. I also like the sound of the bell since it helped me focusing on the moment instead of wondering around. I think I would use this exercise again in my practice, especially when feeling anxious.
I found this exercise to be rather pleasant. I often do some deep breathing but would get frustrated when I find my mind wandering because i feel that I am not doing something right. Getting the affirmation that it is ok if my mind wanders was very helpful. I found that I was able to relax and enjoy the sensation for what it was. This is an activity that I will definitely use.
I found this exercise very grounding except that I had a situation at work today that was very frustrating and it took a lot of effort to keep my mind from drifting there because, of course, that would elevate my heart rate and blood pressure. So for me, at least today, I could not just let my mind “wander”. This gives me a greater appreciation for those students I work with who come in elevated…………..
I’ve been using this technique a very long time and didn’t know it. At the end of a long day or the start of a stressful situation I feel I’m about to head in to I often find myself sitting in my car (my quiet happy place haha) outside where I can see the trees or stars in the sky or birds or even a good rain storm, breathing for a few minutes or at times longer, gearing up or down to relieve or manage stress and anxiety. I just let my mind wander wherever it wants for a while. If I’m stressed about something that already happened I find that often my mind will wander back over the event but be able to find peace in it or even a solution. If I can’t find the peace I’m searching for or I know I’m headed into a situation my mind just wanders off the page to things I’d rather think about for a time like music or just the rhythm or movements of the leaves or happy thoughts I keep just for these moments. When I feel sufficiently ready or I run out of time haha then I take a few last deep breaths, focus my mind where I need it and dive back into my life. In my mind I always thought of it as surfacing for air before going back under the water to swim on through whatever is coming.
I like this technique. I find it helpful and relaxing. I liked the explanation with this unit as I have never thought to try to explain it to someone else so they could try it. It has until now, been something I just did semi subconsciously. It never occurred to me it was a technique and in fact when we were told to find a quiet comfortable place to try this I actually went straight to my car without even thinking about it. I just knew it would be the easiest place for me to relax.
The most difficult part of this exercise was keeping my eyes open (like many of my other cohort companions!) however, I know many people who have difficulty keeping their eyes closed for a second. I loved how you invited the listener every so often to scan the room for safety and let them gaze in an area wherever they felt the most comfortable. I also found it very helpful for you to say that this was not about clearing the mind-only about breathing. Many of the individuals I work with often have difficulty slowing the brain down and not over thinking-if you give them a task (focus on the breath) it actually helps everything slow down even more.
As a music therapist, I would love to figure out a way to use the guitar to help in the process. Meeting them at the tempo where they are at and then helping them bring the tempo down as I help them bring awareness to their breath and body.
Thank you for sharing and I cannot wait until week 4!
That was refreshing!
I think it was one of the most simple breathing exercises I have ever done. I like the idea of keeping your eyes open. I have noticed with many kids and beginners to breathing/meditation closing their eyes makes them more tense and nervous. I have done a very similar breathing/centering exercise with my massage therapy teacher. He gave us the words soft to think on the inhale and belly on the exhale. I really like those words they are very relaxing. Yes, I would use this with youth but only in small group settings.
That was lovely, thank you.
At the beginning, I found it difficult to keep my eyes open and seemed a little distracted by the material things around me. I usually practice mindfulness with my eyes closed, together with the deep breathing exercises and found this interesting. I was aware of stiffness in my shoulders and upper back to begin with and slowly they began to relax. Feel quite refreshed now.
This was a great exercise. It is interesting to know that this activates teh parasympatheic nervous system since it was relaxing. THank you.
This exercise was great and also a bit difficult for me to focus on something rather than close me eyes. I realized how anxious I myself have been lately and toward the end my mind was wandering and feeling like I was wasting time. It is a good reminder to myself that I need and must take care of myself also. It was very relaxing when I was breathing so deeply and was able to focus my mind away. I will try this more so I can see the benefits others are posting about.
I have been participating in an 8 week meditation group and we have been practicing similar techniques. I think this would be accessible for the clients I am supporting as well as my staff team, as most people feel uncomfortable practicing mindfulness with their eyes closed (or they begin to fall asleep). I find these practices beneficial not only to help me become aware of how my work is affecting me, but as a technique to manage stress in my personal life as well.
This is an excellent technique to use for self care and I can understand how it could help the students I work with. There are schools that are teaching elementary age students to use this technique and they report a incredible decline in behavioral issues. Students also report on how positively they are effected by hindbrain breathing. This will be an intrical part in our development of techniques to use in our at-risk youth.
Thank you for this experience.
I found that I looked for something calming rather than safe. It took me several minutes to slow myself down. Interestingly, my sense of smell kicked in about halfway through. I also found it interesting that my dog’s breathing also slowed down – way down – he’s now snoring. I use Mind Yeti at my school. Some students can complete the simple 5-6 exercise without any issues. Some of my students find it frustrating and challenging. Those that find it challenging are my students who are struggling in their education.
The hindbrain exercise was difficult for me at first but then i became comfortable with it. I love the idea of keeping my eyes open during the exercise. Admittedly, when i was becoming comfortable with the exercise, i began to get very sleepy. It took me to a place so comfortable that i wanted to remain there. Having a demanding career and many times we find it hard to take care of ourselves, this exercise is just a simple way for us to ensure that we care for ourselves a little better, which is extremely important.
I believe that this exercise was beneficial to me as it made me relax but i also believe that it will be extremely beneficial to my clients. Many clients who have not learned to trust or have been in very traumatic situations that they do not believe that they could ever trust again, have a hard time with closing their eyes in a room with a person or persons that they do not trust. This exercise would make them feel comfortable by leaving their eyes open and just relaxing while scanning their environment.
I feel like a bit of an odd duck in this exercise. Deep Breathing, meditation, yoga, etc actually increases my anxiety. I can teach deep breathing exercises but I can’t ever seem to do it without my anxiety increasing. I keep trying to practice and one day I may get good at it but for now, it’s not a part of my coping skills list!
This exercise was incredibly calming and I went into it in a fairly tense state this morning and after finishing it I feel much more relaxed. I have done many exercises like this over the years and I always think about incorporating them into my personal everyday life but I always seem to get busy and then forget about it. It is so incredibly beneficial and I need to be mindful to incorporate meditation or deep breathing into my day. It’s such a great reward/benefit for only 5-10 minutes out of your day.
I could definitely see myself using this with the youth that I work with.
I would like to say that my experience with the breathing exercise while doing it I felt a sense if inner peace and a calm and relaxing feeling. However i decided to try the exercise with my eyes close and open and for both I have not felt this feeling in a long time. I think this would be a good exercise to try consistently for myself as it will be a good way to keep stress level down. I also think that it will be an exercise to use when we are faced with hostile clients as it will allow them to calm down before engaging with the social worker.
I think that care givers in Institution can benefit from learning this technique while working with children that are in care as this would be a good exercise to help keep the children stress level down.
Good exercise, I’ve used similar in junior high drama class to start with relaxation and grounding.
Wow, I feel like I just had a power nap. Whether it’s work or personal life I am always on the go. It was great to take the time to stop, relax and just breathe. I couldn’t keep my eye’s open and actually thought I might drop off the chair. I went back for another go. I loved focussing on the bell in the end.
I use to do this when I was in high school but got away from it. I will be using this technique again as needed during my work day when things start “piling” on around me. I will recommend it to not only my students but co-workers.
I fully enjoyed this. I could feel the pressure and tension starting to release. I am a big person on Pilates and Yoga and just doing this small technique made me feel so much rejuvenated and more pleasant at work and even at home. The stress did not follow.
Big fan of this. It’s great to encourage clients not to have any expectations about what “should” happen during these brief interludes. I just tell them to let the dust settle, so to speak, and they usually end up surprising themselves. Good reminder to us as clinicians to also take this time.
I use a lot of mediation and mindfulness in my group with clients. The only difference I found and what I struggled with was keeping my eyes open. For me, it relaxes me even more when my eyes are shut. Coincidentially, when working with a client last week, who would have complex ptsd, I began a visualisation with her, she was unable to close her eyes or focus on what I was saying. We reverted to doing a breathing exercise. I think this would be an excellent exercise to do with her.
I appreciated the invitational language, it encouraged exploration and acceptance. As other people have noted, it was difficult to keep my eyes open. I liked the concept of orienting by looking around the room, but during the breathing exercise I found my eyes closing. Which I think is ok, keeping in the spirit of invitation to explore what is happening in this moment.
I found this exercise to be very relaxing. Although I did struggle with keeping my eyes open, I did not feel as though I was falling asleep. The tension in my shoulders was lessened. I took my blood pressure and pulse after the experience and found both to be lower. I think I could teach this to others and practice this technique daily.
I enjoyed this exercise. Afterwards I felt very relaxed, calm, and centered. I felt more focused. I would like to teach this to my students, especially around exam time.
This is a very calming exercise, but like others, my eyes had a tendency to want to close. I was holding quite a lot of tension in my body before beginning this and this helps. I am more aware of the tension and pain now, but this was an exercise in bringing my awareness back to my body and that is an important step in healing. We are trying to use techniques like these when youth are triggered, but in the moment many cannot and I look forward to hearing about how these techniques can be used when I client is right in the thick of it.
This exercise if extremely calming and also I realized very difficult for me to do. I realize how many can benefit from this type of activity
I have done many deep breathing exercises with clients over the years and they are always helpful for me! i know that if you exhale slower than you inhale, it will reduce your heart rate. I can actually feel it getting slower and more relaxed. I loved the bell, though and it was a good way to start and to end the exercise. I think kids who are in extreme stress mode most of the time would need a longer time to calm themselves. but it is an extremely relaxing exercise.
I found that I wanted to be doing this outside so badly. Scanning my environment just made me notice everything I need to take care of in my environment, which is not relaxing and/or calming for me. I wanted to be out watching the leaves shift in the wind because the breathing was very calming. I think at times we need a shift of environment, if the one we’re in has too much history for us. I have definitely taken kids on walks outside when they’re agitation in a space makes them unsafe to themselves or others. I would use this in the future once we found a calm place to sit outside (provided that is possible).
I found myself extremely grateful for this exercise and it was so perfect for RIGHT NOW!!! I do this exercise on a regular basis whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed or in a situation which causes me anxiety. I noticed today the tension held in my shoulders and while breathing. My thoughts were constantly wandering and I was bringing myself back to the breath. I felt calm and grounded at the end. I still need much more personal practice prior to teaching the youth I work with however I cant wait to share this skill and I will absolutely share this with them in the future.
This exercise is familiar to me and I often use it to calm myself down. The students I have taught it to are always a bit resistant until they feel the calm it brings them.
I enjoyed this exercise very much. I’m currently in a coffee shop, the coffee pumping through my body as I am aware that I’m very behind on this course. I’m noting continually that I’m wanting to rush or multitask or for the videos to speed up. This exercise was perfect timing. As a mindfulness teacher, I teach this stuff! I took you up on the opportunity to practice it now, and through the headphones in a busy room, I was able to see the trees in the wind outside, find my breath, and enjoy the sensations that accompany dropping into hindbrain breathing. Thank you.
I’ve been doing meditation and breathing exercises for years but all with eyes closed so once I got over the difference, i very much enjoyed it! I think this would have been much easier for me in the beginning a few years ago when eyes closed was seemed difficult for various reasons. I loved this practice and will continue to do it.
I loved this meditation. I noticed I kept wanting to close my eyes… I noticed some tension in my body and acutely aware of my breathing…
I will definitely share this type of meditation with my clients.
I love this and love guided meditations, I found it hard not to close my eyes but it was interesting to try this with having them open.
This is a wonderful and simple exercise that I can definitely see using with the youth I work with. Thank you!
It was a very pleasant exercise. Although, the sound of the bell was too skirl for me.
I found this exercise to be helpful in relaxing and to become grounded again, have used similar technique with young people when they are becoming anxious.
Have become very relaxed and now can focus on tasks ahead.
I focused a great deal on my body’s reaction to the deep breathing specifically my chest and belly. Keeping my eyes open was very hard and I could not determine if i should focus on one thing or continue to scan around the room.
I do however feel very relaxed and will continue to practice this.
I found that while doing this exercise, I had difficulty focusing on my breathing. My mind wandered, I was aware of tension in my shoulders and stomach, distracted by hearing a family member in the hall outside my door and by too much visual stimuli in the room. I found it difficult to have my eyes open as I kept scanning the room struggling to focus on something, which made me feel anxious and distracted. I really like closing my eyes while meditating to really get into the experience; however, I plan to practice this more to get comfortable with it and then try to use it with the youth I work with. I think trying this in a different setting/room conducive to relaxation would be more beneficial. I really like the use of the bell for mental focusing and to start and finish the exercise.
This was somewhat challenging for me however, very worthwhile. I could see a HUGE benefit for the students I am working with and could definitely be something you could use for not only a regular/daily practice; but also in the case of a student dealing with a high stress situation.
I have done a lot of breath meditation but never with intentional deep, slow in and out throughout the whole meditation– very interesting! For me, there was less wandering mind through the intentional working with the breath. I can also definitely see how the eyes open instruction could be very welcomed by some.
Youth and child clients I have worked with respond well to this type of exercise when a trauma or physiological response is activated. It brings them back to a state of regulation and tolerance and I actively use practice these with all of my clients as exercises they can do at home, school etc.
I use these techniques myself (essential to modelling the effectiveness to clients).
A useful exercise to teach clients in order to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress and clients report feeling much calmer afterwards. I regularly use this technique myself.
I have done breathing exercises alot before so really enjoyed doing this. Although can see how hard this would be for those that have anxiety or in hypo state… also extending exhale activates parasympathetic nervous system and also left nostril breathing too have showed this to many young people with fantastic results.
It has always been difficult for me to do any type of meditating exercise. When I try to meditate my thoughts usually tend to wander off into the to do list, but did find that keeping my eyes opened during the exercise was very helpful. Felt I focused more on my breathing exercise and learned something new about myself.
I have done mindfulness and mindful breathing in groups and with individual clients. What I found interesting about this technique was the encouragement to allow scanning of the environment. I often allow clients to chose whether they close their eyes or just loosen their focus- but have never used a prompt for scanning the environment which I think would be useful. Thanks
After doing the procedure, I found that I was breathing but often found myself wondering. My thoughts kept wondering off on work and things I needed to get done. I one point I did find myself becoming relaxed. I was was relaxed, my breathing was slower, and my body became light and at ease. The sound of the bell somehow gave me a sense of peace.
I’ve actually been practicing hindbrain breathing for the past 6 months. I was introduced by a friend and I have to say it’s been the most peaceful/difficult thing for me. Like others I struggled with being able to concentrate at first but once I put in the time and was able to concentrate I was able to know things about my body especially were I carried my stress. I’ve actually incorporated this with my kids with are having difficult days. I’ve created a “safe place” for them to come to when they are struggling.
In the comments section below, write about your experience practicing hindbrain breathing. What was it like for you? Pleasant? Difficult? How did you feel afterwards? Is this something you feel like you could practice consistently and one day teach to the people you work with?
I found myself struggling not to close my eyes – perhaps evidence that I’ve experienced very little trauma in my life. I really liked the meditation bell and plan on getting one for my students.
I always find any sort of deep breathing relaxing. I also find that parts of my body display tension and as I focus on breathing I can scan my body and release. So, I end up with an overall relaxed feeling. I find so often that kids are resistant to closing eyes, so giving them permission to do so, is a great way to go!
This was a great exercise for me. In addition to the work I do as a mental health professional, I am also a registered yoga teacher and really love working with helping me and others access the parasympathetic nervous system. There are so many opportunities for sympathetic stimulation available in most of our lives, but getting this type of PNS support is a little more rare. Of course I always have to work the part of my mind that says, “you should be DOING something right now, ” but I just noticed that kept appreciating the gift of the exercise. I do already teach lots of pranayama yoga and other breathing techniques to clients, though I don’t call them that. This is quite similar. Thanks so much!
This exercise was good. It showed me how to relax my body and to realize where I was holding tension in my body. It was relaxing. At the end, I was able to settle back into my chair and focus better on the task in front of me.
Thanks for teaching this technique. I plan to use it in the future!
I love deep breathing exercises, I can really feel my body relaxing and my HR coming down. V useful in the middle of a crisis.
During this exercise I was able to notice areas of my room I often spaced out with while doing my school work during the year. However, I found it difficult to focus on my breathing without closing my eyes. This was a unique aspect as you are correct Sammy that we are often directed to close eyes during these activities.
I am not yet comfortable trying a full 5 minutes with my clients but the way you took me through this activity was much more straight forward and doable than other meditations I have been taken through.
Thank you for this within this training. Good addition.
I found this very soothing. I love that there’s no pressure to be a certain way – just to let my breath soothe me. I’ll definitely use this with my students.
I have started a meditation practice for a few minutes everyday. It was different this time because I usually close my eyes and this time I kept them open. I thought that I was going to get distracted but I was pleasantly surprised. It was very relaxing for me.
I have taken a course in mindfulness and find it helpful with self-regulation. I like that this exercise is brief but accomplishes a lot in terms of relaxation. I have done exercises with my eyes open before and it allows for me to the exercises throughout the day, during meetings, while driving, in my office, when I cannot necessarily close my eyes. This is definitely one to use with youth due it being brief, but still powerful when executed.
very easy to do and pleasant experience. I have done mindfulness before, mainly as self care in the job , I feel encouraged to use it more with my clients….
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