Anxiety is very common and a sudden condition that can happen anytime and anywhere. One in every ten people suffers from anxiety. Breathing is a very effective way of calming yourself down. It is a necessity of life. Improper breathing can contribute to anxiety attacks, fatigue, and other physical and mental disturbances. Many mental health experts recommend breathing exercises to get rid of abrupt anxiety and panic attacks.
Breathing exercises can slow down the heart rate and make you feel calm. So, if you somehow feel anxious out of nowhere you can try some breathing exercises for anxiety to calm yourself down.
Read on to learn about some effective breathing exercises for anxiety.
Signs of Anxiety Disorders
We all face anxiety at some point in our lives but the problem begins when the anxiety becomes consistent. These can not only affect your mind but also your physical health. It’s always a good idea to know about the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorder so that the condition can be tamed early. Here are several signs of anxiety disorder:
1. Excessive Worrying
Worrying is common for all of us but excessive or exaggerated worrying can be a symptom of anxiety. This worrying happens every day or very regularly which is not very normal. Worrying in routine and normal situations can be a sign of anxiety.
Nervousness is another very common thing that happens to almost all of us. A rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking and dry mouth can be common symptoms of anxiety disorder. People with anxiety may experience this for a longer period.
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Uneasiness is a very common symptom of anxiety. Uneasiness alone cannot be considered as an indication of anxiety. If it occurs frequently or almost every day, you might need help from a mental health expert.
Fatigue is another very common symptom of anxiety disorder. Many people feel fatigued after having an anxiety attack while for some people, fatigue can be chronic.
5. Lack of Concentration
Anxiety can impede the working memory which is responsible for holding short-term information. This can cause attention deficit or depression.
Effective Breathing Exercises for Anxiety
To relieve the symptoms of sudden anxiety, you can try some effective breathing exercises. You can feel breathless and restless when you are in anxiety. To relieve and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, try these simple breathing exercises for anxiety:
1. Deep Breathing
This is one of the very simple and very effective breathing exercises for anxiety. It can be done anywhere anytime and in any position. This exercise may help you increase your energy and relieve the tension. Here’s how to do it:
- Lie on your back (if possible) or you can also sit on a chair keeping your back straight.
- Breathe deeply through your nose and fill your belly with air.
- Breathe out.
- As you breathe, place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
- Take three full and deep breaths.
2. 4-7-8 Breathing
This technique is also very effective and is also known as “relaxing breath”. It can also help you sleep faster and is related to yoga’s pranayama which can help control your breathing. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:
- Lay down in a comfortable position
- Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
- Slightly open your mouth and exhale until you reach the bottom of your breath.
- Close your mouth and slowly inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Then, hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Finally, exhale slowly taking a total of 8 seconds to completely exhale.
- Repeat it 4 times.
3. Breath Focus
This is very soothing and done while you imagine a peaceful image or a phrase that helps you feel calm and happy. This helps you calm down and feel a little optimistic. Here’s how to do it:
- Close your eyes.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Breathe in as you imagine that the air is filled with a sense of calmness and peacefulness. Try to feel it.
- Breathe out and as you do it, imagine that the air leaves with stress and tension stuck inside your body.
- Use a word or a phrase like “I breathe out stress and tension from my body” and exhale.
- Repeat this for 10-20 minutes.
4. Equal Breathing
If you can’t sleep properly or have restlessness, this is one of the best breathing exercises for you. It works just like the counting sheep technique. Here’s how to do it:
- Sit or lay down comfortably.
- Inhale for 4 counts through your nose.
- Now, exhale for 4 counts through the nose.
- Add some natural resistance to your breath.
- Repeat and try 6-8 counts per breath as you get comfortable with this breathing exercise.
5. Abdominal Breathing Technique
This is one of the very helpful and effective breathing exercises for anxiety. This can be very helpful when you are going to attend a very stressful event or situation, for example, an important presentation or an exam. Here’s how to do it:
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
- Take a deep breath through your nose, allowing your diaphragm to inflate with air to establish a stretching sensation in your lungs.
- Now, slowly exhale.
- Take 6-10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes every day to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
6. Square Breathing
This is another one of the effective breathing exercises for anxiety. You can try to calm your nervous system and feel more connected to your body. This is also sometimes called “box breathing”. Here’s how to do it:
- Begin by gently inhaling through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Do not exhale, hold your breath for 4 seconds.
- Then, slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
- Now, at the bottom of the breath, hold it for another good 4 seconds.
- Repeat this 5-10 times.
This was all about breathing exercises for anxiety. These breathing exercises can be helpful with sudden and abrupt anxieties. If you face chronic anxiety, consider talking to a mental health expert.
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