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  • Makeena Rivers

The "Strong Black Woman"

Who hasn't heard this before?

This is also known as the “Strong Black Woman” narrative. It looks like over-achieving, pushing yourself to be free of emotion (often in order to cope with stress related to sexism and racism), self-sacrificing, feeling the need to ‘save’ others, and an intense drive for success or accomplishment. Carrying on as a “strong black woman” in this way can not only have an effect on our emotional well-being, but it can also be harmful for our physical bodies.

Next time you're feeling tension run through your body. Try this tip:

Belly Breathing

This technique is a useful tool for regulating stress. All of the above tendencies largely function with a certain degree of emotional stress at play. Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.

1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.

2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.

3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your

chest should not move.

4. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.

5. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.

6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

While independently implementing tools is certainly a big part of the ongoing journey of self improvement, support from a therapist can be very useful in helping you identify ongoing patterns that are holding you back. To lean more about our therapists, visit:

Source: Healthwise Staff

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