Friday, May 2, 2014

Breathing Techniques for Anxiety

Breathing is essential to living. We all know that, so it’s even silly that I would have to write it out. But sometimes, because it is so essential and because our wonderful body does it without requiring any conscious thought, we take it for granted.
Breathing techniques are super useful in case of

Our breathing styles or patterns can alter our moods. Our brain gets some signals as to how it should be feeling according to how we are breathing, and viceversa, the brain tell the body how it should be breathing according to how it is feeling. So we have two options, we can either control our brain or control our breathing, so that it in turn can control our brain.

I don’t know about you, but I still have a LOT of problems controlling what my brain thinks. On a good day, I can control what my mouth says, but rarely can I control what my brain thinks. If you have absolute control over your brain then I should be reading something you write because I want to learn.

Learning to control our breathing is way easier than learning to control our brain. If you’re anxious, controlling your breathing takes on an even more important role. So here are a few techniques you can use on those days when anxiety seems to take a hold of you.

Alternating nostrils
This is one of my favorite ones. I feel so deeply cleansed after finishing this technique, and it is kind of fun at the same time. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Place your right index and middle finger in between your eyebrows. 
  2. With your thumb cover your right nostril
  3. Inhale deeply through your left nostril
  4. Use your ring finger to cover your left nostril
  5. Exhale through your right nostril

Basically all you will be doing is inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other. At the beginning it will feel kind of silly and maybe even difficult while your fingers adjust to where they should be. If you’re having trouble with the hand placement, simply cover the nostril however it comes natural to you.

Repeat this exercise until you feel more relaxed. It usually doesn’t take too long.

Intense breathing

This one takes a little more effort and may even help you strengthen those abs.

  1. Place your hand on your tummy and exhale as much as you can. Feel your stomach go down. 
  2. Inhale right away. 
  3. Exhale with force
  4. Inhale right away
  5. Exhale with force

You get the point...

You should feel your stomach going up and down like a prairie dog. This type of breathing is excellent for letting out all the built up energy that anxiety creates in your body. Let it all out and picture a black cloud of anxiety exiting your body with every exhale.

Calm, Relaxed breathing

Sit in a quiet room. Before you start doing the calm, relaxed breathing, notice how you are breathing at the moment. Are you breathing heavily and quickly? Is your breathing shallow and rapid?

Take a moment to notice how your anxiety tends to change your breathing patterns and take note of it. Next time you feel anxious, your breathing will alert you.

Once you have determined that your breathing is nowhere near ideal, concentrate on getting it there.

  1. Take a deep, long breath of about 7 seconds. 
  2. Hold it in for 3-4 seconds
  3. Exhale for 10 seconds. 
  4. The exhaling time should always be longer than the inhaling time.   
  5. Repeat as long as you wish. 

Once your body gets the rhythm of it, you will no longer need to count.

Anxiety sucks so never give up on trying to get rid of it. Try these and other breathing techniques and Live happy!

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