Breathing exercises (anxiety and stress)

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Breathing exercises for anxiety and stress

When we feel anxious, we tend to take shallow rapid breaths, causing an imbalance in the optimum oxygen/carbon dioxide levels, resulting in increased heart rate, maybe dizziness, muscle tension and perhaps feelings other physical sensations. The blood is not being oxygenated sufficiently, signalling stress response to the body, which can be mild to severe.

 

Deep breathing and breathing exercises help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (part of our peripheral nervous system) which helps to regulate our heartbeat, blood flow,  digestion, and correct our breathing rhythms.

The following exercises can help with the release of anxiety:

 

Belly Breathing

Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your stomach, below the ribcage.
  • Allow your abdominal region to relax completely
  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of 6, so that you feel your stomach rise and fall inward (toward your spine)
  • Exhale slowly through slightly pursed lips for a count of 6. Take note of the hand on your chest, which should remain fairly still

Repeat this Belly Breathing pattern for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, until the overwhelming anxiety eases

 

Box Breathing

A very simple and effective nose breathing exercise which can be done anytime and anywhere

Exhale through your nose to a count of four

  • Hold your lungs empty for a four count
  • Inhale through your nose to a count of four.
  • Hold for a count of four.
  • Exhale through your nose to a count of four

Repeat this Box  Breathing pattern for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, until the overwhelming anxiety eases

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