People frequently utilize breathing exercises for anxiety. That's important because individuals who experience anxiety attacks frequently breathe quickly and shallowly from their chest.
By lowering blood pressure, encouraging feelings of calm and relaxation, and relieving stress, controlled breathing exercises for anxiety can help you stay in good physical and mental health.
Even while the long-term benefits of breathing exercises for anxiety haven't been thoroughly investigated (at least in a controlled clinical context), many professionals advise using breath to improve awareness, cultivate mindfulness, and start your journey towards yoga.
Breathing Exercises For Anxiety
If you incorporate some easy breathing exercises into your daily routine, you will notice a significant improvement.
Even if you're not an expert at it, you can pick it up quickly. Are you prepared to use the power of your breath both in and out? Here are six breathing exercises for anxiety:
1) Equal breathing
This breathing exercise for anxiety is particularly helpful before sleeping. This breath can help you focus on something other than your racing thoughts or whatever else may be keeping you awake if you're having difficulties falling asleep.
Here's how to do this exercise:
- Start by finding a comfortable posture to sit in or lie down comfortably.
- You can keep your eyes open or closed.
- Exhale for four counts after taking four counts in.
- The nose should be used for all inhalations and exhalations, as it naturally adds a small amount of resistance to your breath.
- Once you have mastered that, try 6–8 counts per breath.
2) Lion’s Breathing
Lion's breathing is another effective deep breathing exercise. It can help reduce stress, relax thefacial muscles, and enhance heart efficiency. This breathing technique is best performed while comfortably seated, leaning forward, and placing your hands on the floor or knees.
Here's how to do the exercise:
- Reach as far as your fingers will allow.
- Through your nose, take a calm, thorough breath.
- Open your lips wide, and stretch out your tongue, extending it down toward your chin.
- Exhale forcefully, bringing your breath across the tongue's root.
- While breathing, make a deep 'ah' sound from your abdomen. Breathe normally for a while.
- You can repeat the lion’s breath up to seven times.
3) Breathing Deeply
Try a morning breathing practice before getting out of bed and starting your day. Your day can start off well and peacefully, thanks to its ability to ease any muscle stiffness. If you feel an anxiety attack, repeat this exercise throughout the day:
- Stand up with your knees slightly bent, and lean forward from the waist.
- Allow your arms to hang at your sides.
- Return to a standing position while taking a calm, deep breath, elevating the head last.
- For a short moment, hold your breath.
- Breathe out slowly, and lean forward from the waist to return to the starting posture.
4) Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique
When you're seated at home, at work, or even in your automobile, the progressive muscle relaxation breathing exercise works best. You can eliminate extra stress from head to toe by purposefully tensing and relaxing each muscle group.
To do the exercise:
- Closing your eyes, concentrate on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for 2-3 seconds.
- Start with your feet and toes, and continue on to your knees, thighs, glutes, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw, and eyes.
- Continue to take long, deep breaths throughout the exercise.
5) Alternate Nostril Breathing
Are there a lot of deadlines to meet at the workplace? To regain focus and energy, try this breathing exercise for anxiety. You may benefit from it and feel more awake and aware.
To do the exercise:
- Set up your meditation practice by sitting comfortably.
- The ring, pinky, and thumb should be extended while you extend your dominant hand and press the tips of your pointer and middle fingers into the palm.
- The outside of one nostril should be pressed with the thumb of the hand raised in front of the face.
- Open one nostril, and take a deep breath.
- Release your thumb at the top of your inhalation. Place your ring finger against the outside of your other nostril, and exhale.
- For 1-2 minutes, repeat this cycle before swapping sides so that you breathe in through the nose you’re just used to exhaling and vice versa.
- Use both nostrils equally for breathing in and breathing out.
6) 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
An alternative to equal breathing that can also assist you in falling asleep more quickly is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise for anxiety. Its roots can be found in yoga's pranayama, which focuses on teaching practitioners how to control their breathing.
Here's how the exercise is done:
- Start by finding a comfortable posture to sit in or lie down comfortably. You can have your eyes open or closed.
- When you exhale, place your tongue tip against the roof of your mouth. Gently widen your mouth, and breathe out completely.
- Silently take four counts of breaths through your nose while closing your mouth.
- Exhale slowly for seven counts.
- Last but not least, exhale so slowly that it takes eight counts to return to the bottom of your breath.
- Repeat four times fully, and gradually increase to eight breaths.
One of the strongest tools for combating daily tension and annoyance is breathing exercises for anxiety. You will probably begin to feel better once you master the technique of controlled breathing. You might notice a little more grace and resilience in yourself.
You may start using most of these breathing exercises for anxiety right away. Set aside a certain amount of time at least once or twice per week. Try them out, and see if anything works for you.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.
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