4 breathing exercises to reduce anxiety and stress

Breathing exercises are frequently prescribed to induce relaxation or to deal with stress or anxiety episodes. When you breathe, oxygen enters your blood cells and carbon dioxide exits. People who are nervous, on the other hand, prefer to take fast, shallow breaths from their chest.

This breathing pattern is known as thoracic (chest) breathing, and it can cause an increase in heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension, and other bodily feelings by disrupting oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body. This could be an indication of a stress response, which could lead to anxiety and/or panic attacks.

Anxiety is the body’s natural reaction to stress. It is part of the “fight-or-flight” reaction that occurs when a person is confronted with a real or perceived physical or emotional threat. Breathing exercises are frequently recommended by experts as a strategy to manage with worry. Such activities assist people in slowing their heart rate and feeling calm.

If you are experiencing shortness of breath as a result of worry, there are breathing exercises you can attempt to lessen symptoms and begin feeling better. Let’s take a look at a few that you may undertake at any time during the day or include into longer moments for yourself.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as abdominal breathing, is designed to assist you use your diaphragm correctly when breathing in order to reduce the labor of breathing by reducing your breathing rate, decreasing oxygen demand, and using less effort and energy to breathe.

When you’re feeling worried, try this simple relaxation method that you may do standing, sitting, or lying down:

  1. Slowly and deeply inhale through your nose. Maintain a comfortable posture with your shoulders. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should only slightly lift.
  2. Slowly exhale through your mouth. Purse your lips slightly as you expel breath, but keep your jaw relaxed. As you exhale, you may hear a gentle “whooshing” sound.
  3. This exercise should be repeated several times until you start feeling better.

2. Quieting response

To assist alleviate tension and anxiety, the quieting response method combines deep breathing with visualizations. To begin, relax all of the muscles in your face and shoulders and imagine that you have holes in the soles of your feet.

  1. Take a deep breath in, imagining heated air entering the body through the holes in the soles of your feet.
  2. Consider heated air moving up your legs, into your stomach, and into your lungs.
  3. As the heated air travels over you, relax each muscle.
  4. Slowly exhale, picturing the air traveling from the lungs back into the abdomen, then the legs, finally exiting the body through the holes in the soles of the feet.
  5. Repeat until you’re at ease.

3. Resonant breathing

Resonant breathing, also called coherent breathing, can help you calm anxiety and get into a relaxed state. To try it yourself:

  1. Lie down and close your eyes.
  2. Gently breathe in through your nose, mouth closed, for a count of six seconds.
  3. Don’t fill your lungs too full of air.
  4. Exhale for six seconds, allowing your breath to leave your body slowly and gently. Don’t force it.
  5. Continue for up to 10 minutes.
  6. Take a few additional minutes to be still and focus on how your body feels.

4. 4-7-8 deep breathing

This technique is a quick and easy approach to relax anyplace. Sit with your back straight and the tip of your tongue at the rear of your upper front teeth.

Make a whooshing sound as you exhale through your mouth.
Close your mouth and count to four while inhaling through your nose.
Count to seven while holding your breath.
Count to 8 while creating a whooshing sound with your mouth as you exhale.
Inhale three times, then exhale three times.

The bottom line

Slow, deep, rhythmic breathing techniques have been demonstrated to reduce anxiety and tension. They can be done at any time of day, alone or as part of a meditation or yoga group.

If you’re suffering from anxiety or panic attacks, try one or more of these breathing exercises to see if they help.

If your anxiety persists or worsens, consult your doctor to discuss your symptoms and potential remedies. You may reclaim your quality of life and control over your anxiety with the appropriate strategy.

Atlas Curates

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