Using The Breathing Space: The Action Step

After practicing a Breathing Space, and reconnecting with an expanded awareness it may feel appropriate or necessary to take action or do something. In dealing with depressed feelings or difficult situation, the following activities may be particularly helpful.

Ask yourself: What do I need for myself right now?  How can I best take care of myself right now?

Try some of the following:

  1. Do something pleasurable.
  1. Be kind to your body: Have a nice hot bath; have a nap; treat yourself to your favorite food without feeling guilty (or counting calories); have your favorite hot drink; give yourself a facial or a manicure.
  2. Engage in enjoyable activities: Go for a walk (Maybe with your favorite furry friend of your favorite human); visit a friend; do your favorite hobby; do some gardening; get some exercise; phone a friend; spend some time with someone you like; cook a meal; go shopping; watch a funny TV show or movie; read a good book or magazine; listen to your favorite music.
  1. Do something that gives you a sense of mastery, satisfaction, achievement or control.
  1. Clean the house; clear out a cupboard or drawer; catch up on work; pay a bill; do something you have been putting off; get some exercise (Note - It is especially important to congratulate yourself whenever you complete a task or part of a task, and to break tasks down into smaller steps and only tackle one step at a time.)
  1. Act mindfully (Stay present)
  1. Focus your entire attention on just what you are doing right now; keep yourself in the very moment you are in; put your mind in the present (e.g., “Now I am walking down the stairs…now I can feel the banister under my I’m walking into the I’m turning on the light…”);be aware of your breathing as you do other things; be aware of the contact of your feet with the floor as you walk.           


  1. Try to perform your action as an experiment. Try not to prejudge how you will feel after it is completed. Keep an open mind about whether doing this will be helpful in any way.
  2. Consider a range of activities and don’t limit yourself to a favorite few. Sometimes, trying new behaviours can be interesting in itself. “Exploring” and “inquiring” often work against “withdrawal” and “retreat.”
  3. Don’t expect miracles. Carry out what  you have planned as best as you can. Putting extra pressure on yourself by expecting this to alter things dramatically may be unrealistic. Rather, activities are helpful in building your overall sense of control in the face of difficulties.