Purposeful Breathing is a practical, user-friendly guide to simple breathing skills that can rapidly reduce states you don’t want (such as stress and anxiety) and increase states you do want (such as feeling stronger, performing better or relaxing).
The breath is a remarkably powerful mind-body connection. Anxiety, anger, deep calm or steady concentration each have their own patterns of breathing and we move between different styles of breathing every day without usually realizing it. If we can recognize these styles of breathing, we can also consciously change them and this in turn produces change in the emotional state.
People usually think of thoughts, feelings and physical states as different things, but if we think of moving between different ‘modes’ — survival mode, calm modes, anxious states — then it is easy to see that ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving and breathing are all interlinked. The breath can then be used as the key to change these modes.
For anyone suffering from anxiety, feeling calmer can happen in a breath or two. For anyone wanting to boost performance, the right breathing skills will help them to get into ‘the zone’ of peak performance. Purposeful Breathing also teaches breathing skills for longer term health and healing, all of which are informed by new discoveries from psychology and neuroscience.
Dr. Greg Smith has been a psychologist for more than 35 years. At different times, he has specialized in a wide variety of areas, including depression and anxiety in adults, working with survivors of trauma, working with children and adolescents, relationship counselling and family therapy. Greg has also taught various aspects of counselling and psychotherapy at post-graduate level for many years, and has conducted training workshops in brief and empowering approaches to therapy both nationally and internationally. He is also a qualified yoga teacher and, in recent years, has pursued particular interests in neuroscience, mind–body links, and mindfulness-based approaches to therapy.