Best Breathing Exercises to Relieve Anxiety

When faced with an emergency, your breathing pattern and rate changes. As opposed to breathing slowly, from the lower lungs, you start breathing shallowly and rapidly from your upper lungs. If this occurs when you're not overexerting yourself, you can suffer from hyperventilation. This causes a lot of symptoms associated with panic, which include shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and numbness in your feet.

Anxiety is one of the leading causes of depression and hypertension. It occurs when you are under stress for a prolonged period. To ensure you do not develop serious health complications emanating from anxiety, it is important for you to learn how to manage anxiety. Breathing techniques have long been used to manage and get rid of anxiety.

Breathing Techniques for Anxiety

Breathing exercise for anxiety help change your breathing rate. This stimulates your body to respond in a parasympathetic manner. This is simply the equal and opposite response your body gives for panic, which causes relaxation.

  1. Equal Breathing

This is a breathing technique that brings balance to your breathing rhythm. To do this exercise, start inhaling and exhaling and count to four. If you have a bit of experience, you can aim for a higher count per breath. Repeat this technique several times.

This breathing technique improves your focus, calms your nerves and help to control stress. You can do this exercise at any time of the day, and it can be done anywhere. However, it is mostly recommended before bed. This is because your mind needs to be at rest by the time you fall sleep. When you practice equal breathing, you help to calm your mind, which ensures you sleep soundly through the night.

  1. Abdominal Breathing

Place your right hand on your belly and your left on your chest. Take a deep breathe through your nose making sure your diaphragm inflates due to air stretching the lungs. Taking 6 to 10 slow but deep breathes each minute for ten minutes every day reduces your heart rate as well as blood pressure, which are symptoms of anxiety.  This breathing exercise for anxiety can actually be used when you are facing situations that make you anxious. Practice it before an exam or during a stressful situation.

  1. Progressive Relaxing

To get rid of tension throughout the body, you can use deep slow breaths. Every time you feel anxious, close your eyes and focus on different parts of your body, starting with your toes moving up to your head. Maintain slow but deep breaths. You can breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth. This breathing technique can be done in the office, when driving, and at home.

  1. Skull Shining Technique

This is a perfect technique for the times when you feel a bit stressed or under the weather. To do this, find a comfortable sitting position. Practice prolonged, slow inhalation and exhale fast and powerfully. Ensure your inhalation takes 4 times longer than your exhalation. You need to feel your diaphragm contracting as you do this.

After a few tries, you will feel better and relaxed. You can do this at home and in the office, or anywhere you feel comfortable doing it. 

  1. Alternate Nostril Technique

This is a breathing technique that calms your mind and eases anxiety. To do this, sit in a comfortable posture and cover the left nostril with your thumb. Take a deep breath through the free nostril. Once you have breathed in, move your thumb to the right nostril as you and breathe out. Alternate the nostrils when breathing in and out for a few minutes. This is an effective breathing exercise for anxiety. It is best for times when you feel stressed or when you want to focus.

  1. Visualization with Guidance 

Sit in a meditation posture with a therapist present to guide you through the process. Breathe in and out deeply as you focus on things that make you happy. You can practice this for as long as you want to. It is a good breathing exercise when you need to get rid of thoughts that make you anxious. Guided visualizations allow you to drift into your happy place rather than allowing your mind to get stressed.

How to Tell if the Breathing Exercise Is Working

If you like measuring your results, there are several ways to track your progress. You can use a heart rate monitoring app to determine whether the breathing exercise is working.  Download one from your respective app store. You don’t even need a heart rate monitor on your phone. Some apps will use your camera to measure the heart rate.

It is important to understand that your heart rate changes as you breathe in and out. Therefore, there may be variances in the pattern when you use the monitoring app. If your heart rate is too high, anxiety and communication complications are common symptoms. Do a breathing exercise, and then measure your heart rate once again.

Benefits of Breathing Exercise for Anxiety

 They include:

•    The effects are almost instant and effective.

•    It is easy for everyone to practice anywhere.

•    It is a psychological process that that automatically slows down your heart rate and gets rid of anxiety.

•    It calms the whole body.

•    It protects your body from illnesses related to anxiety such as hypertension and depression.

•    Helps to relieve stress and ensures you sleep soundly through the night. 

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