Belly breathing is also known as abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm is a large muscle that runs between the chest and abdomen, separating the two large cavities. It is the same muscle that opera and classically trained singers use to breathe with. Belly breathing is a good coping strategy that can be used to decrease stress and anxiousness, but some people find it difficult to breathe with the diaphragm.
When I was a music teacher, I stumbled upon an easy way to breathe using the diaphragm, which I will explain now. Start by laying down on your back. Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. While taking big breaths, focus on making the hand on your stomach go up and down. Within a few seconds, most people start to breathe using the diaphragm. It is much harder to breathe this way sitting up or standing, but this type of breathing can be achieved with practice! Once you are breathing with the diaphragm take a slow breath in through the nose, hold it, and breathe out through the mouth, (like you would other deep breathing techniques). Breathe like this for a few minutes. It takes a while to get comfortable breathing this way, so practice it when you are calm, and once you are comfortable with it, then use it when you feel stressed or anxious.
Ankrom, Sheryl (2022) https://www.verywellmind.com/abdominal-breathing-2584115
Eldridge, Lynne (2021) https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-the-diaphragm-2249084
Written by Jennifer Yim-Rodier, Registered Psychologist (Provisional) with Wildflowers