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5 simple breathing techniques for anxiety management.

5 simple breathing techniques for anxiety management.

Currently, the world is going through collective trauma. Stress levels are at an all-time high. Psychiatrists say that there is a universal presence of anxiety due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is therefore apparent to us that heightened stress is an issue that we have to deal with regularly as many of us may be grappling with unemployment and psycho-social issues. While the stress may seem overwhelming at times, what most of us don’t realize is that anxiety management is a simple process. In this article, we will break down several effective breathing exercises for anxiety and depression. Breathing techniques for anxiety management should be a priority for you to help alleviate stress during such uncertain times.

We involuntarily carry an effective stress management tool throughout the day: Our breath. The truth is that anxiety and breathing are directly linked. Here are 5 simple breathing techniques for anxiety management that you can try any time.

Read more: 5 effective tips to reduce stress

How does breathing help stress and anxiety management?

When we feel stressed, our breathing rate and breathing pattern change as a part of the ‘flight-or-fight response’. Typically, an anxious person takes small, shallow breaths. This is because they use their shoulders instead of their diaphragm to move air in and out of their lungs. Also, when they are anxious, their chest cavity can only expand and contract so much, which makes it hard to get more air in. Breathing techniques typically involve deep breathing. Deep breathing for anxiety allows more carbon dioxide to enter your blood. This calms down Amygdala- the part of your brain responsible for handling anxiety. Deep breathing also synchronizes your heartbeat and breathing. This is why breathing techniques for anxiety management are so effective in reducing stress.

1. Pursed lip breathing technique

This is one of several breathing techniques for anxiety management that focus on the manner in which you inhale.

  • Relax your body.
  • Keep your mouth closed and take a deep breath through your nose.
  • Purse your lips in a whistling position.
  • Exhale slowly through your pursed lips.
Millennial woman doing pursed lip breathing technique
Pursed Lip Breathing Technique

2. Alternate nostril breathing technique for anxiety management

This one of the more well-known breathing techniques for anxiety management and is also known as ‘pranayama’. Pranayama for anxiety has been practised for centuries.

  • Sit in a comfortable position and bring your right hand near your nose.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril.
  • Close your left nostril with your ring finger and release your thumb to exhale.
  • Now inhale through the right nostril and release your ring finger to exhale through that side.
  • This is one cycle. Continue this for 5 minutes and finish it with an exhale on the left side.
Millennial woman practicing alternate nostril breathing technique
Alternate Nostril Breathing

3. Equal breathing technique

This is one of the more popular breathing techniques for anxiety that revolve primarily around meditation.

  • Sit in a comfortable position.
  • Then, breathe normally through your nose. 
  • Count each inhales and exhales to make sure that they are in even duration.
  • You can choose a word to repeat during this process.
  • Continue this for 5 minutes.
Millennial woman sitting down in meditation pose doing equal breating
Equal Breathing

4. Coherent breathing technique

This exercise is another effective form of breathing to reduce anxiety.

  • Sit in a comfortable position.
  • Next, inhale deeply for a count of 5.
  • Exhale for a count of 5.
  • Continue this for 5 minutes.
Smiling millennial woman sitting down in meditation pose
Coherent Breathing

5. Deep breathing technique for anxiety management

The deep breathing exercise is one of the prominent and core breathing techniques for anxiety management.

  • Relax your body while standing or sitting.
  • Draw your elbows back and allow your chest to expand.
  • Take a deep breath through your nose.
  • Hold it for a count of 5.
  • Then, slowly release your breath through your nose.
  • Continue this for 5 minutes.
Millennial woman doing deep breathing exercise
Deep Breathing

Read more: How to practice self-compassion in these difficult days?

These simple breathing techniques for anxiety management can have a profound effect on your state of mind. It makes you calm and relaxes even in stressful situations. So, next time you find yourself under stress, try these simple breathing techniques for anxiety management. Breathing to calm anxiety sounds like a simple solution, but if done faithfully and correctly, can be very effective.

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