Are breathing techniques for anxiety actually effective?
Breathing problems might cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and other physical and emotional issues. On the other hand, anxiety has an effect on our breathing as well. Anxiety is the body’s natural fear reaction. This is known as the fight-or-flight response. Physically and psychologically, the body reacts to prepare you to fight or escape the situation. Experiencing difficulty for breathing is one of these responses. Shortness of breath, chest tightness, a feeling of suffocation, or a need for oxygen are all possible symptoms. There are many different breathing techniques for reducing anxiety.
One of the most efficient ways to relieve stress in the body is deep breathing. This is due to the fact that deep breathing signals the brain to relax and calm down. Your brain then sends this message to your body.The things that happen when you’re anxious, such as an elevated heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease when you breathe slowly to relax.
It’s easy to practice breathing techniques for anxiety. They can be done whenever you want, and no special tools or equipment are needed. To determine which exercises are most successful for you, you can try a variety of them.
Three effective breathing techniques for anxiety relief
Anxiety and depression can be relieved by belly breathing for 20 to 30 minutes per day. Look for a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. Sitting in a chair, cross-legged, or lying down on your back with a small cushion between your knees and head are all good options.
Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your belly button on your stomach. Allow your stomach muscles to relax without squeezing or clenching them to turn it inward. Inhale slowly through your nose. Your stomach should rise with one hand and fall inward with the other as the air passes through your nose and down (toward your spine).Exhale slowly, slightly pursed lips. Keep an eye on your face, where your hand should be relatively still.
Although the length of the sequence varies depending on your health, most people begin with three repetitions and work their way up to five to ten minutes, one to four times a day.
Pursed lip breathing
By gaining deliberate effort in each breath, this basic breathing technique helps you to slow down your breathing rate. Pursed-lip breathing is a quick breathing method that can help you take deeper, more deliberate deep breaths. People with lung diseases like emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have been found to benefit from this technique.It’s particularly useful for things like bending, lifting, and stair climbing.
Neck and shoulders should be relaxed. Inhale slowly through your nose for 2 counts while keeping your mouth closed. As if you were going to whistle, pucker or purse your mouth. Exhale steadily for a count of four by blowing air through your pursed lips.
To properly learn the breathing pattern, practice using this breath 4 to 5 times a day when you first start.
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise, also known as the calming breath, serves as a natural nervous system relaxant. It’s best to start by doing the exercise while seated with your back straight. However, once you’ve gotten used to the breathing exercise, you can do it while lying in bed:
For the duration of the exercise, press the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth. Make a whoosh sound by fully exhaling through your mouth. To a mental count of four, close your mouth and inhale softly through your nose. Hold your breath for seven counts. To a count of eight, exhale full through your mouth, creating a whoosh sound.
You can find the best breathing technique for your anxiety
If you’re suffering from anxiety or panic attacks, consider using one or more of these breathing exercises and see if they help. To make deep breathing work for you, you must pay attention to your body and be aware of how anxiety affects your daily life. You will recover your quality of life and control over your anxiety with the right approach. If you ever have extreme anxiety after practicing deep breathing, see a mental health professional or a doctor for an assessment and treatment advice.
You can check our podcast episode with Nikki Hedstrom: “Addressing Kids’ Mental Health”
You can also check out the book “Breath” for more information about breathing techniques for reliefing stress and anxiety.