Breathing exercises are one of the simplest and most effective relaxation techniques, but some are
more effective in certain situations than others.
As you practice deep breathing techniques more often, you’ll experience more of their benefits, including
anxiety relief, lower blood pressure, pain relief, reduced inflammation, and improved digestion. Let’s
explore the top three to five breathing exercises that can help you handle stressful situations.
4-7-8 Breathing Yoga Technique
Invented by Dr. Andrew Weil, the 4-7-8 breathing exercise is a breathing pattern based on an ancient
yogic technique known as pranayama breathing exercise. Pranayama helps you gain control over your breathing. If you
experience mild sleep disturbances, stress, and anxiety, 4-7-8 breathing
technique can help you overcome
distraction and slip into a calm state.
Practicing this breathing exercise is simple. Breath out through your mouth completely, accompanied by
a whoosh sound. Afterward, close your mouth and breathe in through your nose as you count to four.
Hold that breathe as you count to seven. Afterward, breathe out through your mouth as you count to
eight. Don’t forget to make a whoosh sound as you do that.
Repeat this procedure three more times to make a total of four breaths. If you have difficulty holding
your breath, you can speed up the process with faster breaths provided you maintain the 4:7:8 ratio.
Breathing Exercises for Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety, learning about deep breathing exercises can help you whenever you’re struggling
with an attack. You can start with the following:
Box Breathing –
If you can’t get over a stressful event like an argument, are about to
lose your cool, or racing thoughts are preventing you from falling asleep, you can
benefit immensely from a box breathing exercise.
All you need to do is inhaling for a count of four, holding that breath for a count of four,
exhaling for a count of four, and waiting for a count of four before repeating the process
until you feel relaxed and in control again.
Consider drawing an imaginary square in the air with your finger as you breathe.
Alternatively, close your eyes and imagine traveling around your square. By combining
the breathing with visualization, you can distract your mind from the stressful situation
and focus on positivity.
As your lungs gradually expand, your vagus nerve captures the expansion and triggers
the production of acetylcholine, which commands your heart to slow down. With a slow
heartbeat, your entire nervous system will calm down.
– Roll breathing exercise help you to develop maximum use of your lungs and to
focus on the pattern of your breathing. It is effective in relieving anxiety. While you can practice
it in any position, it’s advisable, as a beginner, to lie on your back while bending your knees.
Place your right hand on your chest and the left hand on your tummy. Fill your lower lungs with
air by inhaling. The hand on your belly rises as you inhale while the hand on the chest stays still.
You should inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Repeat the process eight to ten times. Afterward, breathe into your lower lungs as before.
Continue breathing into your upper chest.
Then breathe slowly and consistently. While doing so, your right hand should rise, and your left
hand should fall a bit as your stomach falls. As you breathe out slowly through your mouth,
produce a gentle, whooshing sound as your left-hand falls followed by your right hand.
You should feel the tension escaping from your body as you exhale, making you feel relaxed.
Practice inhalation and exhalation in this way for about five minutes.
– If you have any health problem that makes breathing difficult, like heart failure
or respiratory disease, breathe focus exercises may not work for you.
Besides being effective in relieving anxiety, this technique is also beneficial if you’re struggling
with an eating disorder. It will help you positively focus on your body. In practicing breathe
focus, you should take long, gradual, deep breaths. As you breathe, you gently take your mind
off distracting thoughts and sensations, thereby focusing on more constructive thoughts.
Another great breathing exercise for relieving anxiety is diaphragmatic breathing.
What is Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique?
The diaphragm is a big, dome-shaped muscle found at the base of your lungs. It is the most efficient
muscle for breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing yoga exercise aims at helping you use the diaphragm in the
right manner while breathing.
As a result, this breathing technique benefits the diaphragm in several ways, including the following:
- Strengthening the diaphragm
- Reducing the demand for oxygen
- Minimizing the work of breathing by decelerating your breathing rate
- Using minimal effort and energy to breathe
How do you practice diaphragmatic breathing exercise?
Find a flat surface and lie on your back. Be sure to bend your knees and support your head. Then put
one hand on your upper chest and the other hand just below the rib cage. You want to feel the
movement of your diaphragm while you’re breathing.
Inhale slowly through your nose. Your belly should move out against your hand as you do this. Your
hand on your chest shouldn’t move at all.
Tighten your belly muscles, allowing them to be drawn inwards as you breathe out with your lips pursed.
Make sure the hand on your chest doesn’t move.
As a beginner, you should practice this exercise for five to ten minutes about four times a day. You can
gradually increase the period of time you do the exercise as you gain experience. With more experience,
you can even practice the diaphragmatic breathing technique while sitting in a chair.
Breathing exercises can help you deal with stressful situations. They also have numerous other benefits,
including lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and more. Learning about at least three to
five breathing exercises is a great start to leading a healthy, happier, and more fulfilling life. The
breathing exercises shared in this article are some of the best that you can start with.