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2 years ago

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Women doing yoga, practicing anxiety breathing techniques.
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Women doing yoga, practicing anxiety breathing techniques.

 

Feeling anxious? You’re not alone, and there are plenty of natural ways to help you feel calm again. Anxious people breathe differently than normal people, with fast, shallow breaths that can leave them feeling lightheaded and dizzy. This type of breathing can actually increase anxiety symptoms in the long run, so it’s important to practice an anxiety breathing exercise from time to time in order to stay calm, clear-minded, and centered. Here are some of the most effective anxiety breathing exercises you can try today.

 

1) 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is a very popular and effective anxiety breathing exercise. This technique will help you feel more in control of your anxiety symptoms by slowing down your heart rate, easing muscle tension, and calming your mind.

To perform this exercise:

1. Breathe in for four seconds

2. Hold your breath for seven seconds

3. Exhale for eight seconds (five if you are pregnant)

Repeat the cycle at least three times when suffering from an acute episode of anxiety or panic attack, or five times when the symptoms are more chronic. For less severe symptoms, continue until you feel calm.

 

Worth mentioning the 6-10-6 Breathing Exercise is another good anxiety breathing exercise for mental clarity:

Similarly to the previous breathing exercise, the 6-10-6 exercise should be done during periods of high anxiety and will bring about similar physical benefits like reduced heart rate, increased relaxation and lower blood pressure. It also improves mental clarity which can make it easier to cope with anxiety attacks. If you are feeling anxious, but not yet experiencing full blown symptoms, follow these steps:

1. Inhale deeply for six seconds.

2. Hold your breath for ten seconds before exhaling completely for six seconds (or longer).

Repeat until your body feels relaxed and heavy.

 

2) The Relaxing Breath

The relaxing breath is the simplest of the anxiety breathing exercises. Start by taking in a deep breath for 4 seconds, then let it out slowly for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle three times and you should feel your body relax from head to toe.

-The four second slow inhale will allow your stomach muscles to contract, giving you an energy boost that will last throughout the day.

-The eight second exhale will help your chest and lungs release air and tension more deeply.

Deep breathing is a very effective anxiety breathing technique.

Take in a deep breath as if you are about to start singing or speak, then close your mouth and pinch your nose with your fingers so that you can’t breathe out until after 3 seconds have gone by. Hold your breath for 5 more seconds, then release. Your heart rate will rise and blood pressure may spike at first but they’ll return to normal levels soon enough.

Holding one nostril closed while breathing in through the other also helps manage anxiety physical symptoms.

You can do this either using a thumb on one side of the nose and two fingers on the other side or vice versa. It’s important not to hold your breath during this particular breathing technique because doing so could lead to lightheadedness, passing out, dizziness, nausea, increased heart rate and changes in brain chemistry which all intensify symptoms of panic attacks!

Give this simple anxiety breathing exercise a try – Yawning!

Yawning decreases sympathetic nervous system activity and increases parasympathetic nervous system activity. In addition, yawning can cause mild stretching of the back muscles, relieving some stress and tension associated with them.

 

3) Box breathing

Box breathing is one of the most effective anxiety breathing exercises that most people can do in just a few minutes. The aim of the exercise is to calm your breath and slow down your heart rate by taking deep breaths in and out.

Here’s how it works:

  • Breath in deeply for 4 seconds
  • Hold it for 4 seconds
  • Then exhale fully for 4 seconds

Repeat this pattern until you feel calm enough to continue with whatever you were doing before the attack began. If the anxiety attack persists, talk to someone or distract yourself with an activity such as reading.

You can also try – Power Pause Breathing Technique:

When we feel anxious or stressed, our bodies release adrenaline into our systems which causes our hearts to race faster and blood pressure to rise. Power Pause Breathing helps control these changes by slowing them down through controlled breathing methods.

To practice this technique:

  • Sit upright and place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
  • Close your eyes, focus on relaxing your muscles, and inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Hold the air in for 5 seconds while counting to five in your head.
  • Release all the air from your lungs slowly and evenly over a 10-second period while counting to ten in at least twice during the exhalation phase.
  • Open your eyes and let go of any tension you may have been holding inside.

 

4) Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a breathing technique that involves taking a deep breath through the nose and exhaling fully from the lungs. This type of breathing helps you calm down by bringing in more oxygen, which makes you feel calmer.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  • Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
  • Slowly breathe in through your nose.
  • Push out any air that was left in your lungs.
  • Hold for three seconds.
  • Slowly breathe out through pursed lips.
  • Repeat at least five times or until you are feeling less anxious. If diaphragmatic breathing does not work for you, try alternate nostril breathing!

 

5) Breath Counting

Breath counting is one of the best anxiety breathing exercises that you can use anytime, anywhere. This technique is used to help you focus on the present moment and take control of your anxiety by using deep breaths.

To perform this exercise:

Breathe in for the number of seconds that corresponds with the number you’ve chosen (1-5), and then exhale for the same amount of time.

Here are some 2 examples

  1. Breathe in for three seconds and breathe out for three seconds.
  2. Breathe in for four seconds and breathe out for four seconds.

Remember, breath as deeply as possible!

Fill up your lungs so they push against your chest and stomach area. As you exhale, feel yourself relaxing a little bit more. Practice this anxiety breathing exercise five times each day, every day until it becomes a habit!

 

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6) Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique of muscle relaxation that systematically alternates periods of tensing and relaxing specific groups of muscles. It was originally developed by American psychologist Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s and has been used as a treatment for anxiety, among other things.

The steps are:

  • Sit or lie down comfortably with your eyes closed, and begin by letting go of any tension in your face or jaw.
  • Tense the muscles in your feet while simultaneously tightening the muscles in your calves and thighs.
  • Hold this contraction for 10 seconds, then release it fully before proceeding to the next step.
  • Next, tense your hamstrings (the back of the upper legs) by pulling them upward against their natural tendency to bend downward. Hold this for 10 seconds, and again release them fully before moving on to the next step.
  • Finally, focus on squeezing all of the abdominal muscles you can find from below your belly button up into your rib cage. Concentrate on drawing all of these different muscles together as tightly as possible at once without breathing out; hold for about 10 seconds and then let them all go at once too.

 

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7) Belly Button Breathing

Belly button breathing is a simple relaxation technique that, when practiced regularly, can help reduce anxiety. Belly button breathing involves placing one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest. As you inhale deeply through your nose, visualize pulling air into the bottom of your lungs. Then, as you exhale through your mouth, imagine pushing the air out from the top of your lungs. This breathing exercise stimulates both the diaphragm and abdominal muscles and it can also have a calming effect on many people who suffer from anxiety-related disorders or just general stress or unease. Another benefit of belly button breathing is that it promotes better blood circulation in the body.

Another way to practice this breathing exercise:

  • As you inhale through your nose, try imagining drawing energy up your spine towards the base of your neck (use visualization).
  • When you exhale through your mouth, feel this energy going down past your pelvis and out of the soles of your feet (again use visualization).

 

Conclusion

One of the most common types of anxiety is called anxiety hyperventilation syndrome. It’s usually the result of a panic attack, and in some cases, it can lead to fainting. The symptoms are: shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and feeling like you’re choking. There are two ways you can combat this type of anxiety. One way is by using anxiety breathing exercises. The other way is by using medication. I recommend you try anxiety breathing exercises first because they are drug-free and require no doctor visits or prescriptions.

To learn more about anxiety physical symptoms click here

 

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