Are you familiar with feelings of anxiety and stress? Everybody experiences some form of stress at some point in their life. Sometimes day-to-day routines can feel overwhelming, especially in the quick and speedy nature of the modern era. All of us are juggling careers, love lives, family, social live to some degree as well as balancing this with the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.
We often scout methods you can use to combat these feelings such as mindfulness, however breathing exercises is considered to be one of the most effective and efficient stress reliever. Usual stress responses such as high blood pressure, heavy breathing and accelerated heart rate can be calmed by taking controlled deep breaths. There are several breathing techniques you can practice – get to know breathing exercises for anxiety and stress below.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is one of the breathing exercises to help you fall asleep. It’s described as a ‘natural tranquilizer for the nervous system’. Here’s how you can practice it:
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath 7 seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds.
- This is one 4-7-8 "breath cycle", and you should repeat it 3 more times, completing 4 cycles in total.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
You may already be acquainted with this breathing exercise if you’re a frequent yoga goer. This is a wonderful approachable suitable for when you’re stressed at work – it does require a little focus so be sure to make time for it.
- Shut off your right nostril with your thumb and slowly inhale through the left
- Then switch so you can inhale through your left nostril and exhale through the right
- Pause before repeating 4 – 7 times
Pursed lip breathing
This approach is used for expelling trapped air in the lungs and slows down the volume of your breathing causing relaxation in turn. It also aids shortness of breath.
- Relax your shoulders and neck
- Take a short inhale for 2 seconds – it doesn’t need be a deep breath.
- Pucker your lips as if you were about to whistle and breathe out for 4 seconds
- Carry this out 3-4 times per day
Abdominal breathing helps you to use your diaphragm correctly which, in turn, strengthens it. This is a great breathing exercise to carry out before bed or to calm yourself down before a stressful event. It might be easier to tackle this from a laid down position when learning this technique.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose – make sure your stomach inflates and not your chest.
- Inhale deeply for 2 seconds – allow your stomach to expand
- Breathe out slowly through the mouth
- Repeat for 5 – 10 mins
So, there you have it - 4 new easy exercises you can use whenever you feel any signs of stress or anxiety. To explore more stress and anxiety-reducing tips, take a look at some everyday mindfulness techniques and tips to conquer pressure.