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4 Breathing Exercises to Try When You Feel Anxious

Breathing is a necessity of life that usually occurs without much thought. When you breathe in air, blood cells receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a waste product that's carried back through your body and exhaled.

Improper breathing can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange and contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, and other physical and emotional disturbances.

Overworked, sleep-deprived, and stressed out? Same. But luckily, there are plenty of ways to regain a sense of calm that don’t require investing a chunk of your paycheck in fancy-schmancy spa treatments.

In fact, one the best relaxation methods is entirely free. All you need is a pair of healthy lungs, your breath, and 10 minutes of “me” time. It’s called controlled breathing.

Anxiety is the body’s normal response to stress. It is a part of the “fight-or-flight” response that happens when someone faces a real or perceived physical or emotional threat.

Anxiety can be useful because it makes sure that people are alert and aware in the face of danger. For some people, however, it can disrupt their everyday life.

Sometimes, anxiety can become overwhelming, which may cause unease, distress, or dread. When this is the case, doctors tend to recommend trying breathing exercises.

Experts often recommend breathing exercises as a way to cope with anxiety. Such exercises help people slow their heart rate and feel calm.

Why controlled breathing?

Controlled breathing exercises can help keep your mind and body in shape, by helping to lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and relieve stress.

While the long-term benefits of breathing exercises haven’t been studied at length (at least in a controlled clinical setting), many experts encourage using the breath as a means of increasing awareness, mindfulness, and putting yourself on the path to Zen.

This calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.

You will get the most benefit if you do it regularly, as part of your daily routine.

You can do it standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor.

Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.

The easiest way to determine your breathing pattern is to put one hand on your upper abdomen near the waist and the other in the middle of your chest. As you breathe, notice which hand raises the most.

If you're breathing properly, your abdomen should expand and contract with each breath (and the hand on it should raise the most). It's especially important to be aware of these differences during stressful and anxious times when you're more likely to breathe from your chest.

1. Lengthen your exhale

Inhaling deeply may not always calm you down. Taking a deep breath in is actually linked to the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight-or-flight response. But exhaling is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system, which influences our body’s ability to relax and calm down.

2. Abdomen breathing

Breathing from your diaphragm (the muscle that sits just beneath your lungs) can help reduce the amount of work your body needs to do in order to breathe.

To learn how to breathe from your diaphragm:


For comfort, lie down on the floor or bed with pillows beneath your head and knees. Or sit in a comfortable chair with your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed, and your knees bent.

Then, put one hand under your rib cage and one hand over your heart.

Inhale and exhale through your nose, noticing how or if your stomach and chest move as you breathe.

Can you isolate your breathing so you bring air deeper into your lungs? What about the reverse? Can you breathe so your chest moves more than your stomach?

3. Quieting response 

The quieting response method combines deep breathing with visualization to help reduce stress and anxiety.

A person should first relax all the muscles in their face and shoulders and imagine having holes in the soles of their feet.

4. Mindful breathing 

Mindful breathing uses mindfulness to help people to focus on the here and now.

To practice mindful breathing, a person should sit or lie in a comfortable position with their eyes open or closed.

Content created and supplied by: Just_Lifestyle (via Opera News )


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