There are simple breathing exercises that can help you to control stress and calm your mind. They are so simple and you can use them anywhere and for every stressful situation.
But it is not just simply breathe in and breathe out as you think. There are different types of breathing and they affect our mental and emotional health.
Breath in, breath out it seems so intuitive. But today many people are more aware that breathing with intention and certain rhythms can help with stress, anxiety, blood pressure.
“Practicing a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.“- Andrew Weil, M.D.
Because breathing is something that we can control and regulate, we can use it as a tool to achieve a relaxed and clear state of mind.
Opposite of controlled breathing, improper breathing can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange and contribute to panic attacks, stress, anxiety, fatigue, and other emotional problems.
Types of Breathing Patterns
Most people aren’t aware of the way they are breathing. There are two types of breathing patterns:
1. Chest (thoracic) breathing
2. Abdominal (diaphragmatic) breathing
When you are anxious you are not aware but you tend to take rapid, shallow breaths that come from the chest. This is the chest breathing and it causes the upset in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body.
It is the reason for dizziness, increased heart rate, muscle tension. Your blood is not properly oxygenated and that causes stress response that contributes to anxiety and panic attacks.
Abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing is the opposite of chest breathing. You take even, deep breaths. This is the way that newborns are breathing. This is the pattern that you use when you are in a relaxed stage of sleep.
Breathing Exercises To Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Simple Abdominal Exercise for Relaxation
When you feel anxious or under stress use this simple breathe technique to relax fast:
1. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little.
2. Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale.
3. Repeat this breathing exercise for several minutes.
This exercise can be done when you are sitting, standing or lying down.
The Stimulating Breath
This technique also called the Bellows Breath comes from the yogic breathing technique. The main purpose of this technique is to raise energy and increase alertness.
1. Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
2. Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
3. Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.
The next time you need an energy boost and you want a cup of coffee try this breathing exercise and you will notice the change in your energy levels.
This breathing technique is used in Zen practice.
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward.
Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally, it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.
1. To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
2. The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
3. Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.
Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”
Relaxing Breath Exercise (4-7-8)
This popular 4-7-8 breathing exercise is so simple and it can be done anywhere and in any position.
Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
The most important for this exercise is the ratio 4-7-8, the time that you spend on each phase it is not important. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time and the exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation.
If you have trouble holding on your breath, you can speed up the exercise but remember to keep the ratio 4:7:8. It is the root of this breathing exercise.
The relaxing breath exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with practice and repetition. It acts as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system and you can do it at least twice a day.
In the beginning, you can feel a little lightheaded, but don’t worry it will pass and this is the feeling at the beginning after that it will pass.
This exercise is so useful and you can use it anywhere for every situation that upsets you. Use it before you react to the situation.
Use it whenever you are under tension or stress when you want to fall asleep. This exercise is so good that anyone can benefit from it.
You don’t have to be stressed or anxious to use this exercise. Use it every day just to be more calm and relaxed.
Conclusion: These breathing exercises are so useful and can help you with any situation. By picking one breathe technique you are one step before stress and close to relaxation and a clear mind.
Paying attention to your breath can help you to slow yourself down and relax. When you have a stressful day these are the techniques that you should use.
Remember controlled breathing can help more than some medications or other things that you take for stress and relaxation.