Do You Breathe the Correct Way? Here are the 5 best breathing techniques for anxiety

Did you ever notice what the one common thing that happens to your body whenever you go through an experience of either excess pain or joy is?

It is no use telling you how important breathing is in our lives. 

Especially during stressful moments, we lose our cool and become anxious. We’ll also talk about the best breathing techniques for anxiety. 

Let me tell you, it is the pace of your breath that changes. You start breathing heavily after an intense workout or after running and gasping while sitting somewhere calmly. But the question here is, are you conscious of every breath you take? 

For most people, breathing can be a normal physiological process that occurs continuously. But if you analyze it deeply, you will realize that breathing can change your life in a good way. 

In this blog, we will make you aware that how you breathe the right way can change the quality of your health, and we will also discover several breathing techniques for anxiety.

Change Your Breath, Change Your Life.

You have no idea that a simple breathing process that you regularly perform without even consciously thinking is so powerful. It can change the pH level of your body; make it more acidic or alkaline; boost your digestion; improve your blood pressure; and lower your heart rate and cortisol level. Breathing for most of us is automatic as it is controlled by our autonomic nervous system all by itself. The question is, how conscious are you when you breathe? If you take complete control of your breathing process, then it can indeed change your life.

Also Read : Top nutrient dense foods on earth

How Can Deep Breathing Exercises Calm Us Down?

We all know that breathing is vital for life. But it turns out that breathing well can also be critical for our minds, helping us to stay calm and collected even in the most stressful situations. When we breathe, oxygen travels from our lungs into our bloodstream and our cells, which are used for the chemical reactions that keep us alive. But the benefits of breathing go far beyond that: our breath also affects our brains and moods and can be used as a tool to help us manage our emotions and stay in control when we’re feeling anxious or stressed.

Breathing is an automatic procedure that takes place with absolutely no conscious effort. If breathing becomes an unconscious task, it becomes scary, especially compared to re-energizing breathing when it hasn’t occurred yet.

We all know that being calmer is better than being stressed. We find it easier to think, we feel less tense, and we can solve problems more effectively when we’re more relaxed than when we’re stressed. 

But how do we achieve this state of calmness? You might have heard that meditation is the best way to calm the mind or that deep breathing is an excellent way to keep the mind focused. Deep breathing exercises are one of the most powerful ways to control your mind, body, and nervous system.

5 Breathing Exercises That Will Improve Your Mental Health!

So far, the article must have convinced you that deep breathing will surely change your life, and now we will share how to perform different breathing exercises in different situations. Here are five breathing exercises for anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.

  1. Box Breathing Exercise for Anxiety: There are times when we all feel stressed, anxious, and under pressure. We try all possible ways to slow it down, but unfortunately, we fail. Why? because we look for the solution outside when the real key is within. But the sweet part is that there is a breathing technique for anxiety called “box breathing.” Box breathing is a simple and effective anxiety-breathing exercise. It is a technique used to recover from anxiety attacks. It helps regulate the breath, increases oxygen to the lungs, reduces blood pressure, and lowers your heart rate. You can do it anywhere and anytime. Box breathing can help reduce stress and improve mood. It can also help with controlling and managing emotions. Deep breathing for anxiety is a great way to relax completely.

    How to perform: Inhale for 4 seconds, visualising as you go up to one side of the box. When you reach the top, hold your breath for the next 4 seconds as you go to the other side of the box, and then again exhale for the next 4 seconds, going down and repeating this inhaling for another 4 seconds. This way, imagine you completed the breathing process using a box. This is one of the easiest and most effective anxiety-breathing exercises.

    You can initially practise this 5 to 10 times a day. Make sure you are well seated with your spine perfectly erect. 
  1. 5-2-5 technique : Did you know that there are 264 million adults worldwide who suffer from panic attacks? Surprisingly, most people do not ever report it. People tend to keep it to themselves as they fear and rely on medication to help when natural treatment is much easier than that. Well, there are multiple ways to treat a panic attack, but we will focus on the breathing exercise you can do on your own to tackle it. It is one of the best and most practical panic attack breathing exercises. It is called the 5-2-5 technique.

    How to perform: The very first thing you need to do is to ground yourself, take out your shoes, and connect your feet with the floor. If you are at your home or office, that’s great; but if you are driving, quickly pull over. Simply feel the ground; at that place, you need to take slow, deep breaths. 

    Go slow and maintain the pace. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold it for the next 2 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds. Practice this until you feel completely relaxed. Taking a slow, deep breath activates your vague nervous system, slowing down all panic attack symptoms.
Breathing Exercise For Better Sleep: If you wish to live a healthy life, proper rest and sleep are as essential as good food. Sound sleep can help you recover from the tiredness of your whole day, and if you perform heavy tasks such as jogging or lifting weights, then sleep is the only way your muscle tissue recovers appropriately. But let's face it, at this pace of life, we all have to tackle several problems regarding sleep—irregular sleep patterns, waking up suddenly in the night, or some people may have insomnia. What if I told you that proper breathing can cure all of this?Breathing exercises are one of the most effective ways to improve sleep quality. It helps you relax and calm down before going to bed, so you can get a good night's rest. The exercise that is recommended for good sleep is called the 4-7-8 technique.
  1. 4-7-8 breathing technique

    The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple and effective way to increase oxygen intake. This breathing method is also called the “four breaths, seven breaths, and eight breaths” method. It was introduced by military men who had difficulty sleeping during the war in unfavourable conditions. Initially, it can be a little tricky as you are not experienced, but once you learn how to perform, it can be a lifesaver for you.

    How to perform: Simply lie down on your bed. Relax your muscles and get comfortable. Inhale for 4 seconds (or as long as you can without feeling dizzy or lightheaded). Hold your breath for 7 seconds (or as long as possible). Exhale completely through your mouth for 8 seconds (or until you feel like passing out). Repeat steps 1 & 2 two more times.

    Repeat the complete exercise until you fall asleep.
  1. Pranayam: Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath. It involves regulating airflow in and out of our lungs and diaphragm, which are located in our chest cavity. 

    Pranayama breathing can be practised for several reasons: to increase energy, to achieve a state of relaxation or meditation, or simply as a way to get more oxygen into your body. You can also use pranayama during yoga postures to help you focus on your breathing while practising poses that require balance and concentration.

    How to perform: You can perform pranayam by breathing in through the nostrils and exhaling out through the mouth, or by holding one’s breath for a few seconds before exhaling. The technique is to breathe slowly and deeply into the abdomen (belly) with each exhalation while keeping the back straight and relaxed. This exercise will help you relax your body and mind and improve your concentration levels.
  1. Mediation: The cure for everything 

    Most people fail to meditate or have trouble doing it because of the preconceived notions they have structured in their minds about it. Sometimes, they mistakenly think of mediation as concentration. But you need to understand that meditation is all about breath work.

    In the initial days of monkhood, the first thing that Buddha taught his disciples was to focus on their breath. Watch how it goes in and comes out. This helps them to master their breath and stay calm and conscious all the time. 

    Don’t worry! You don’t need to become a monk to breathe well; you just need to be aware of the inhale and exhale process. As we have discussed in the blog, different breathing techniques help you recover from several mental breakdowns. There are also multiple deep breathing exercises that you can perform, such as belly breathing and abdominal breathing, so that one can act according to their needs and ease. Consider how you can improve the quality of your health by meditating for a few minutes each day.

I am sure that after reading this article and knowing the excellent benefits of deep breathing and learning different breathing techniques, you must be conscious of your breath and be good at it. If this blog has been informative, please consider following it. Thank you for reading.

Sejal is qualified in health sciences from Yale University and has a degree in Psychology from University of Michigan. She is currently pursuing her Master's in clinical psychology from Gujarat University. Her aim is to aid people in improving their health and achieve fit and healthy bodies and wishes to propagate her knowledge to everyone for their betterment.

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