A Breath of Good Health

Most people know that there are benefits of deep breathing. However, many don’t realize just how many benefits deep breathing has on the body, mind, and spirit. This article, http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html, names 18 benefits including releasing toxins and tensions, bringing clarity to the mind, and elevating your mood. Because of the immense benefits, activities that include deep breathing, such as yoga and meditation, have become increasingly popular recently. Deep breathing can also be practiced at home. When practicing at home, I encourage clients to begin with apps with guided breathing, such as Breathe, to learn the techniques and to start with 2 minutes a day. It is great to start with a small, achievable goal when beginning a new task.

Children can also benefit from deep breathing. Many studies suggest deep breathing will help with a child’s anxiety and behavioral regulation. However, sometimes children need more assistance to learn deep breathing. There are many fun activities to practice at home to teach your child the life-long skill!

1.     Bubbles- Children love bubbles. They are also a great way to teach breathing. You’re your child how the bubbles work best when you slowly exhale into it. You can also practice behavioral inhibition by having your child remain seated for a minute at a time and not chase or touch the bubbles while you blow them. Praise the moments they are able to achieve the goal and reduce the goal if needed if 1 minute is too long!

2.     Pinwheels- Everyone loves the fun colors in a pinwheel. What many don’t realize is it can also be a fun way to teach mindfulness and deep breathing. Practice taking a deep breath in and then slowing releasing to make the pinwheels move. Continue the exercise for a mindfulness activity by encouraging your child to look at all the colors as the wheel turns.

3.     Crafts- Kids love to do crafts and they can also be a great way to reinforce counseling activities. Draw a hot chocolate mug and place small cotton balls on top to represent marshmallows. Practice slowly exhaling to “cool” off the hot chocolate!

No matter the age, everyone can benefit from deep breathing. Whether it is from meditation, yoga, deep breaths in the car, or a fun activity your body will benefit from the exercise!

Written by: Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S

Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com