3 Deep Breathing Techniques to Manage Anxiety
Stress has become a part of our everyday lives, especially as we are learning to balance multiple demands and responsibilities, such as work, family, finances, and relationships.
While occasional stress can be normal and even helpful, chronic stress can have negative effects on our physical and emotional health.
It is important when we are researching and evaluating different stress management techniques, that we find basic strategies that are effective and easy to use whenever, wherever is necessary.
Deep breathing is a simple, natural, rhythmic way to ground ourselves in the present moment and return to a state of calm when experiencing heightened stress or tension.
Deep breathing exercises are a form of relaxation and stress management that can be done anywhere, any time, which is ideal. They are simple to learn and practice, and can be used to manage a wide range of stress-related issues, including anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, sleep problems, and pain.
Breathing exercises can reduce stress by boosting oxygen exchange, which reduces blood pressure, slows the heart, and lets go of tension. These physical changes also improve mental states by allowing you to become grounded in the present moment.
In this blog post, we will look at three deep breathing exercises that are particularly effective for managing stress.
- The BOX Method
The BOX method is a four-part deep breathing exercise that helps you focus and control your breath.
To perform the BOX method:
- Sit or stand with your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed.
- Inhale through your nose for four seconds. It may be helpful to visualize a line being drawn as you inhale
- Hold your breath for four seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth for four seconds.
Repeat steps 2-4 for at least five minutes.
- The 4-7-8 Method
The 4-7-8 method is a simple deep breathing exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime.
While it may sound simple, this breathing exercise can have a profound effect on your anxiety and stress levels. In one study, people who regularly practiced this breathing exercise were significantly less likely to experience anxiety and stress than people who didn’t.
If you want to try the 4-7-8 method, you can start by breathing in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and then exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle at least three times.
- Alternate-Nostril Breathing Method
Alternate-Nostril Breathing simply requires you to hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale through one nostril and inhale through the other nostril. It is called alternate nostril breathing because you breathe through your right nostril on the in-breath and then through your left nostril on the out-breath. This is a very simple technique, but it has many benefits.
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