We tend to hold our breath in stressful situations and lack of oxygen makes rational thinking and self-control more difficult. In the stress of the moment it can be difficult to remember to pause to breathe more deeply.
Practicing breathing techniques routinely can help the body and brain learn the habit and then it may be easier to pause in a stressful moment and remember to breathe again. It's okay, safe to breathe, no need to run in the adrenalin charged fight/flight/freeze mode of our stress response.
Improving confidence includes acknowledging our fear in Paul Gowin's steps in a Skillshare class: Simply Create More Confidence: By Taking Command of Fear. His "Take Co - mmand" breathing technique (two short inward breaths and one long outward, the words can be thought silently), or counting Ten Deep Breaths or breathing in and out with some other mantra, can help the habit development. Then pausing to breathe may be easier for your body to do at the moment of stress when it is needed, without even thinking about it.
Labeling feelings can also help cope better when in the fearful or anxious situation - Oh, futtery heart and crampy stomach - I'm tense and need to pause and breathe (Before passing Go and collecting $200 - Before doing anything else in Monopoly game lingo)
A resource provided with a guidebook for counselors working with patients who self injure includes a variety of breathing techniques. One of the many breathing techniques:
“Breathing In, I Calm My Body; Breathing Out, I Smile”
"This is another breathing exercise from Nhat Hanh (1991). Say, “Breathing in, I calm my body; breathing out, I smile” recurrently. Comment: Nhat Hanh states that smiling relaxes all the muscles in the face, and he recommends it for this reason. " - Barent W. Walsh,
from "Reproducible Materials: Treating Self-Injury, Second Edition: A Practical Guide", Barent W. Walsh, (2006) https://www.guilford.com/add/forms/walsh5.pdf
In some ways worrying, fear, and lack of confidence, are lack of trust that you will be able to cope with whatever happens. Pausing to breathe more deeply gives us the oxygen we need to think more clearly and calmly. Worry or low esteem may be easier to cope with once the body's stress reaction of holding our breath is better managed.
Smiling, the muscular act, even if not feeling happy, can help us become happier feeling, on average. The emotional centers of the brain seem to be connected bidirectionally with the muscular movements that are related to the emotion. When we smile we may feel happier.
When we are tense or concentrating we may be frowning and it may not be helping our mood.
How to fix that? I don't know, it is not one of my innate skills. Pausing to see beauty helps me, or nature. Jokes can help get through tough times. Laughter creates a lot of air and blood flow - good exercise for the mind and mood.
As a friend or support person, a gentle reminder to "Breathe in . . . breathe out . . ." and breathing along may help the anxious person to pause the worry and start breathing again.
From a clearer head, the next steps for grounding oneself and seeking better understanding of a fear can proceed.
Skillshare.com is a creative and self growth skill site with a monthly or annual fee for full access. The courses are action oriented and quick paced. Learn or improve a skill in a few hours with guidance for practicing over the next weeks or month.
Courses include creative writing, photography, film, website or UI/UX development, business, freelance, leadership, productivity and lifestyle categories. The site appears cohesive in helping educators create a user friendly course in similar styles.
Students/subscribers to Skill Share can create their own projects and save draft work. The courses are non-credit, designed for self-improvement and skill building.
Disclaimer: This information is being shared for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. It is not intended to provide individual health care guidance. Please seek an individual health practitioner for that purpose.