Anxiety

Breathing Techniques for Anxiety

In this fast-paced, stressful world, anxiety and stress are common problems faced by people round the world. Did you know that anxiety and panic attacks are your body’s physical, mental, and emotional reaction to the elevated and accumulated levels of stress? So when anxiety gets the best of us, there are a host of problems that can assail a person. Apart from fatigue, illness, and sleep deprivation, one of the common anxiety symptoms are quickened, erratic breathing. Practicing appropriate breathing techniques can help calm anxiety, and induce an elevated sense of awareness by slowing the quickened breath and rapid heart rate. Here are some deep breathing techniques for anxiety attacks that can help ease the emotional stress and nervousness.

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

Conscious Breathing: One of the simplest breathing techniques for relieving anxiety is by becoming conscious of your breathing. In a stressful situation, people tend to take shallow breaths, leading to hyperventilation and other problems. Proper and conscious breathing can solve this problem by helping in the expansion of the lungs and the diaphragm. For this exercise, you need to sit in a comfortable position and place one hand on your chest. With the other hand, placed on your belly, close your eyes and breathe rhythmically. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest and focus on the breathing for at least five to ten minutes.

Standing Exercise: Keeping your hands at your sides, stand with your feet slightly apart. Inhale slowly and raise your arms over your head, keeping the palms facing upwards. Hold your breath for a few minutes and then exhale. As you do so, drop your head down, and let your arms slowly return to your sides. Repeat this exercise several times till you feel a sense of calmness.

Abdominal Breathing Technique: This breathing technique helps in training the body to take deeper breaths by using the abdominal muscles. For doing this exercise, you can lie comfortably on the floor. Now extend the stomach abdominal muscles such that the lower part of the abdomen is distended. Hold this position for a while and then exhale. While doing so, suck in the stomach muscles as far as they would go and hold this position for a few seconds. Keep repeating these breathing steps till you achieve a rocking motion.

Once you have mastered this muscular action, you can team them up with the breathing exercises. For this, you need to inhale through the nose when you distend your stomach, and then exhale through the mouth noisily as the abdomen is pushed back. Doing this for a couple of times will ‘force’ the oxygen into the extremities of your body such as your fingertips and toes.

Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique: This is a common yoga technique wherein you need to sit comfortably in an upright position. With your right thumb, close the right nostril, and slowly breathe in. Now keeping your thumb on the right nostril, close the left nostril with your right ring finger. Remove your thumb from the right nostril. Using your right nostril, exhale slowly. Reverse this step by inhaling through the right nostril, and then closing the right nostril with the thumb and exhaling through the left nostril. To feel the tension melting away, repeat this exercise thrice.

It is found that with regular performance of these breathing techniques for anxiety, anxiety attacks can be aborted. These natural methods are not accompanied by the harmful side effects that are caused by anxiety medications. With diligent practice, you will find profound changes in your life and eventually feel much more relaxed and happy.

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