Breathing slowly and focusing on each breath allows you to be more present and mindful, E. Fiona Bailey, PhD, professor in the department of physiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, tells SELF. This, in turn, helps reign in racing thoughts and can sometimes be enough to distract you from the things that are making you worried or anxious.
So, what does deep breathing actually mean? Breathing deeply means taking a breath so intentional and big that you feel it all the way into the bottom of your lungs and the diaphragm, the chest muscle that sits right under the ribs.
If you’re breathing deeply, you should be able to feel your entire abdomen expand and watch your belly fill and empty as air moves in and out of your lungs, Gauri Khurana, MD, a psychiatrist in the New York City area, tells SELF.