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5 Types Of Breathing Exercises To Help You With Anxiety

Breathing is such a natural function that most of us pay no attention to it. Breathing is, however, the cornerstone of all approaches to managing stress and emotions. It can be our basic anti-stress tool, available at all times and at zero dollars! Everyone can introduce it into their daily life, thanks to simple exercises.

Regularly practicing these 5 breathing exercises will help you relax and recharge your batteries.

Breathing Technique n° 1: 4-7-8

4-7-8 breathing is a technique that was developed by integrative medicine expert Andrew Weil. It is often thought of as a form of breathing associated with yoga.

The goal here is to breathe consciously, slowly, and deeply.

The numbers tell you what to do: inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.

  • Sit comfortably with your spine straight.
  • Exhale completely and loudly through your mouth, making an almost whistling sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale gently through your nose for four seconds.
  • Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, wheezing, for eight seconds.
  • Repeat this pattern three times, for a total of four complete breath cycles.

Breathing technique n°2: Nadi Shodhana

There are many different types of yogic breathing techniques, but this is the most famous — often called “nostril breathing” — because it’s traditionally used to oxygenate the body and rejuvenate the nervous system. You can reap benefits with as little as one to three minutes a day.

  • Sit comfortably with your spine elongated and your left palm resting on your left thigh.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril for 4 seconds.
  • Close both nostrils and hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  • Open your left nostril and exhale for 4 seconds.
  • Close your left nostril with your ring finger and inhale through the right nostril for 4 seconds.
  • Close both nostrils and hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  • Open your right nostril and exhale for 4 seconds.
  • Repeat this cycle three or more times until you feel calm.

Breathing technique n°3: Tactical breathing, four-square breathing, or box breathing

This type of diaphragmatic breathing is used by the military to help them calm down in very stressful situations. It is also a great tactic to help stop a panic attack.

Take these deep belly breaths and follow the pattern described below, visualizing each second as you count.

  • Inhale for 4 seconds.
  • Stop and hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  • Exhale for 4 seconds.
  • Hold for 4 seconds
  • Repeat this pattern three to five times.

Breathing technique n°4: Abdominal breathing

Abdominal breathing eliminates anxiety.

Very relaxing, abdominal breathing relieves fatigue and eliminates toxic waste. The range of respiratory movements exercises a massage of the abdominal organs and promotes neuromuscular relaxation as well as oxygenation of the brain.

  • Put your hands on your stomach to better feel your inhales and exhales.
  • Inhale through your nose, expanding your belly like a balloon.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, gradually drawing your stomach in.
  • Empty the air from your lungs.
  • Again, inhale by inflating the belly like a balloon and blocking the air in the lungs for a few seconds.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, drawing in your stomach.

The longer the exhalation, the better the relaxation. By inhaling, we can imagine that we fill ourselves with oxygen, pure air, and positive energy. And by exhaling we expel our worries and our negative thoughts, our stress.

Breathing technique n°5: Alternative breathing

This one is probably my favorite and my go-to!

This is very similar to breathing technique number 3 except there is no counting and no holding your breath!

This particular breathing exercise allows us to refocus on ourselves and reinforce our presence in what we do and in the present.

Soothing nervous excitement, it also allows us to indulge in daydreaming which can be very conducive to creativity.

When your thoughts scatter, your ideas go in all directions as you look for solutions to a thorny problem, when you can’t focus on a complicated project, this is a great technique to go to.

  • Place the thumb on one nostril and the ring finger on the other (with the right hand if you are right-handed, with the left hand if you are left-handed).
  • Close the left nostril with the ring finger and inhale with the right nostril.
  • Block the right nostril with the thumb then exhale with the left nostril.
  • Inhale with the left nostril.
  • Close the left nostril, then exhale with the right.
  • Inhale with the right nostril. Close the right nostril and exhale with the left.

Repeat this breathing cycle ten times.

Please try these breathing exercices or at least one of them to help you manage your stress and anxiety much better and in a much healthier way!

Source: originally published on Vocal Media

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