People suffering from anxiety tend to take shallow breaths through their chest instead of deep lung filled breaths from their diaphragm. Shallow breathing through the chest disrupts the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide necessary to be in a relaxed state which perpetuates the symptoms of anxiety.
On the other hand, deep breathing from the diaphragm can slow down your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and promote feelings of calm and relaxation, which will help to ease anxiety. Regular breathing exercises are a simple, quick and easy solution to help relieve the symptoms of anxiety.
Here we will share some deep breathing exercises that will help to ease anxiety.
This breathing exercise can be done sitting up or lying down. With this breathing exercise, your stomach should expand but your chest should rise very little, so start by putting one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly so you can feel how you are breathing.
Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed and then breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose for about 2 seconds. Feel the air as it expands the stomach, ensuring the diaphragm inflates enough to create a stretch on the lungs.
Exhale slowly through your mouth, making the out breath as long and smooth as possible. The out breath is the key to relaxation so give it your full attention and practice breathing out in a long, slow, controlled breath.
Doing this for 10 minutes a day will reduce your heart rate and blood pressure and put you in a deeply relaxed state.
Yoga breathing or ‘alternate nostril breathing’ as it is also known, promotes calmness and balance and unites the left and right sides of the brain.
Start by sitting in a comfortable position and then hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of the inhalation take your right ring finger and place it over the left nostril while you exhale from the right nostril.
Continue this pattern by leaving your ring finger where it is closing off the left nostril, now inhale deeply through the right nostril. At the peak of the inhalation take your right thumb and place it over the right nostril while you exhale from the left nostril.
This exercise is great for stopping your mind from jumping around from thought to thought. It helps you to re-energise and focus on the present moment.
Resistant breathing is as the name suggests, breathing that creates resistance to the flow of air. All musical sounds like singing and chanting are created using resistant breathing which is why you feel so relaxed when doing them.
To start, get into a comfortable position and inhale through your nose for a count of four. Then exhale back out through the nose for another count of four. Breathing in and back out of the nose creates a natural resistance to the breath.
A more advanced method is to count to six or eight per breath. This breathing technique helps to calm the nervous system, increase focus and reduce stress.
Skull Shining Breathing
This breathing exercise will wake up the brain, warm up the body and shake off any stale energy. To start, get into a comfortable sitting position and take a long, slow breath in through the nose.
The inhale is followed by a quick, powerful exhale generated from the abdomen out through the nostrils. Once comfortable with this technique increase the pace to one inhale-exhale every one to two seconds for a total of ten breaths.
This breathing exercise will refresh and rejuvenate the body mind and will help to brighten up your day from the inside out.
These breathing exercises are a great way to help ease the symptoms of anxiety and promote a feeling of calm and relaxation. In addition to these exercises it is also important to have ongoing help and support from a qualified therapist to fully overcome any anxiety you may be suffering.