Constricted Breathing Technique

April 2020 Update: This post has become very popular as people are concerned with their breathing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Use this quick technique to discover how tapping can help you breathe better. For five more breathing techniques that will help strengthen your body while calming your mind during this global crisis, please consider reading my book Take One Breath.

Please wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds before tapping and you can leave out the point under the nose (or any of the face points) and substitute tapping on the inside of your wrists or tapping on the gamut point if you choose.

This simple exercise, used regularly, will quickly and easily reduce stress and therefore allow your breathing to deepen and lengthen. Have your notebook and a pen or pencil handy. If you need a reminder about the process and tapping points, you can review the basic tapping recipe.

First, take a slow, comfortably deep breath. Next, estimate the percentage of your deep breath against what you think a full deep breath would be, on a scale from 0 to 100 percent. Write down your percentage.

Now while tapping on the side of the hand point, use your percentage in the setup statement. For example, if you guess your breath is about 65 percent of a full breath, you’d say “Even though I am only breathing at 65 percent, I completely accept my breathing just the way it is,” or “Even though I am only breathing at 65 percent, I completely accept my breathing and I choose to feel calm and relaxed.” Repeat your setup statement three times while tapping on the side of the hand.

Now focus on your less-than-full breath as you tap through the other points, inserting your percentage into the reminder phrase. Keep it simple by using the example percentage, such as “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.” Or you can mix in words describing how you feel about it and where you feel it in your body.

Top of the head: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Eyebrow: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Side of the eye: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Under the eye: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Under the nose: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Chin: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Collar bone: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Under the arm: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”

Go right into a second round of tapping using your own words:
Top of the head: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Eyebrow: “And that makes me feel scared and stressed.”
Side of the eye: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Under the eye: “This tightness in my chest.”
Under the nose: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Chin: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Collar bone: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”
Under the arm: “I’m only breathing at 65 percent.”

Stop tapping and take another slow, comfortably deep breath. Estimate the percentage of that deep breath against what you think a full deep breath would be. Compare to your beginning percentage. Did your percentage go up? Most often it does. If you like, continue tapping more rounds to more deeply relax, using your new percentage.

When we are stressed out, we tend to take shallow, rapid breaths. When we are relaxed, we naturally breathe more slowly, fully, and deeply. The simple act of tapping helps relax us, and the ease of our breath reflects that change. Use this easy technique at least daily for a lasting reduction in stress and increased body awareness.

Keep Calm and Tap On!

Please remember: It's important to contact a professional if things feel too big for you, whether it be a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified EFT practitioner. Never discontinue your current medications without first consulting your doctor.