My 18yo step-daughter has pretty severe anxiety. She is very self critical (not that she’d admit that to anyone but me–we are very close). I’ve been trying to get her to do some simple breathing exercises to help calm her. I told her to focus on her breath, not to change it, just notice it. When her mind starts to wander (as it will), I told her to just note it and go back to the breath. She’s tried it, and it is causing her more anxiety (judgment about doing it wrong; hyperventilating; beating herself up because she can’t even breathe right; etc.). I need some resources: books, meditations, meditation scripts, advice. I know it can help her if she can get past the judgment. I’d love to hear your stories and suggestions. Thank you in advance!
Because the breathing exercise you suggested to her caused her to get even more anxious, I wouldn’t suggest guided meditation to her at this time because they start and end with instructions to focus her attention on her breathing. What may work for her is daily aerobic exercise, such as fast walking or swimming. The physical exertion forces the person to breath naturally, getting the oxygen she needs and the calming regularity of breathing, without paying attention to her breathing.
Attending exercises classes in a gym, including yoga classes can help her as well. While she follows a teacher’s instructions, focusing on her body movements/ her muscles/her postures, she gets a break from thinking. It is like taking the elevator down from the over-thinking, self critical brain–> to the body and the brain gets a break.
Yes. That makes a lot of sense. When I started down this path, it was with yoga first. Unfortunately, she’s not likely to do anything physical on her own. However, I might be able to get her to do some yoga with me. Even if it is just a short 15 minute daily practice. Thanks for the advice!