There are breathing exercises for anxiety you can use to reduce symptoms and begin feeling better if you are experiencing breathlessness due to anxiety. Let’s look at eight examples you can do at any time during the day or incorporate into longer self-care periods.
1. Exhale more slowly
Sometimes deep breathing won’t help you to relax. The sympathetic nervous system, which regulates the fight-or-flight response, is actually connected to deep breathing. However, the parasympathetic nervous system, which affects our body’s capacity to relax and calm down, is connected to exhaling.
- You may hyperventilate if you take too many deep breaths too quickly. The amount of oxygen-rich blood that flows to your brain is reduced by hyperventilation.
- Even when trying to breathe more deeply, it’s easier to over-breathe when you’re stressed or anxious and end up hyperventilating.
- Try a full exhale before you take a big, deep breath. Let your lungs do their job of breathing in air by forcing all the air out of them.
- Next, try to exhale a little bit more slowly than you inhale. Try breathing in for four seconds and out for six, for instance.
- For two to five minutes, try to practice this.
- You can use this technique while standing, sitting, or lying down, depending on which position is most comfortable for you.
2. Belly breathing
Your body needs to work less to breathe when you breathe through your diaphragm (the muscle that lies just below your lungs). Here is how to breathe from your diaphragm:
- Lay down on the floor or a bed and place pillows under your knees and your head for comfort. Alternately, take a seat comfortably in a chair with your knees bent and your head, neck, and shoulders at ease.
- Next, place one hand over your heart and the other under your ribs.
- As you breathe in and out through your nose, pay attention to whether or not your chest and stomach move.
Can you focus on just your breathing to allow air to enter your lungs more deeply? How about the opposite? Can you breathe so that your stomach doesn’t move as much as your chest? In time, you want your stomach to expand when you breathe rather than your chest.
Make use of belly breathing
- Lay down or sit as previously mentioned.
- Put one hand on your chest and the other somewhere above your belly button on your stomach.
- As you inhale deeply through your nose, you’ll feel your stomach rise. Your chest ought to be mostly still.
- Lips pursed, breathe out through your mouth. As you exhale, try contracting your stomach muscles to force air out.
- You must practice this type of breathing every day for it to become automatic. Try performing the exercise for up to 10 minutes, three or four times per day.
- If you haven’t been breathing with your diaphragm, you might initially feel exhausted. However, with practice, it will become simpler.
3. Focused breathing
- Anxiety can be lessened by focused, slow, deep breathing. This technique can be performed while sitting or lying down in a peaceful, cozy setting. Take these steps:
- Take note of how it feels when you breathe normally in and out. Check your body in your mind. Unnoticed tension in your body could be present.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.
- Observe how your upper body and belly are rising.
- Whatever method of exhalation feels most comfortable for you, you may choose to sigh.
- Spend some time doing this while observing the rise and fall of your belly.
- Pick a word to concentrate on, and say it aloud as you exhale. Effective phrases include “safe” and “calm.”
- Think of your inhale as a gentle wave that covers you.
- Imagine the energy and thoughts that are upsetting and negative leaving you as you exhale.
If you find yourself getting side-tracked, gently bring your focus back to your breathing and your speech. When you can, use this technique for up to 20 minutes each day.
4. Equal Breathing
Equal breathing is a different type of breathing that evolved from the traditional pranayama yoga practice. This indicates that you breathe in for the same duration as you breathe out.
- Either sitting or lying down are suitable positions for practicing equal breathing. Regardless of the position you select, make sure to settle in.
- Close your eyes and spend a few breaths focusing solely on how you normally breathe.
- Then slowly inhale through your nose while counting 1-2-3-4.
- Exhale for the identical four seconds.
- Pay attention to how your lungs feel full and empty as you inhale and exhale.
- Your second count might change as you continue to practice equal breathing. Make sure to maintain a constant inhale and exhale.
5. Resonant breathing
Coherent breathing, also known as resonance breathing, can ease anxiety and put you at ease. Try it out for yourself:
- Close your eyes as you lay down.
- For a count of six seconds, gently inhale through your nose while keeping your mouth shut.
- Do not breathe in too much air.
- Allow your breath to leave your body slowly and gently for six seconds as you exhale. Avoid pushing it.
- Keep going for as long as 10 minutes.
- Spend some more time in stillness, paying attention to how your body feels.
6. Lion’s breath
When a lion breathes, it forcefully exhales. To try lion’s breath, kneel down with your ankles crossed and your bottom resting on your feet. Sit cross-legged if this position is uncomfortable.
- Stretch out your fingers and arms as you lower your hands to your knees.
- Inhale deeply through your nose.
- Let out a “ha” sound as you exhale through your mouth.
- As you exhale, widen your mouth as much as you can and stick out your tongue, extending it as far as it will go toward your chin.
- While exhaling, concentrate on the third eye in the middle of your forehead or the tip of your nose.
- As you take another breath, relax your face.
- Up to six times, repeat the exercise, switching the ankle cross each time you reach the halfway point.
7. Neural alternating breathing
This exercise can help you reduce anxiety as you alternate breathing between your nostrils.
- Sit down in a comfortable position, lengthening your spine, and open your chest to try alternate nostril breathing.
- Raise your right hand while keeping your left hand on your lap. Next, place your right hand’s pointer and middle fingers on your forehead, in the space between your brows. As you breathe in and out through your nose, close your eyes.
- Close the right nostril with your right thumb and take a deep breath through your left.
- Between your right thumb and ring finger, pinch your nose shut while briefly holding your breath.
- Inhale through your left nostril while using your right ring finger to cover it, then exhale through your right nostril while holding your breath for a moment.
- Taking a deep breath, open your right nostril.
- Once more, pinch your nose shut while pausing.
- Open your left side now and take a deep breath in before exhaling.
- Up to ten times, breathe in through one nostril and out the other. Up to 40 seconds should pass between each cycle.
8. Mindfulness training
Some people use guided meditation to reduce anxiety by halting thought patterns that fuel stress. By relaxing and sitting or lying in a cool, dark, comfortable location, you can practice guided meditation on a Bible verse or biblical affirmation. After that, unwind your body and maintain a steady breathing pattern while listening to relaxing music.
Recordings that guide you through the process of visualizing a calmer, less stressful reality can be helpful. Additionally, it can assist you in regaining control over anxiety-inducing intrusive thoughts. You can create new habits and thought patterns by meditating on God’s Word.
Try one or more of these breathing exercises for anxiety to see if they can help you if you’re having anxiety or panic attacks.
Make an appointment with a Christian counselor to discuss your symptoms and potential treatments if your anxiety persists or worsens. You can regain your quality of life and gain control over your anxiety with the right strategy, including effective breathing exercises for anxiety.
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