It’s a time of great dread. As we struggle collectively to process the pandemic’s rising death toll and reel from its economic impact, it’s okay to acknowledge our feelings of anxiety because of the coronavirus. As a scientifically-proven exercise, deep breathing is a great way to relax and calm yourself during these uncertain times. That’s why I’d like to introduce you to a few deep breathing exercises for anxiety you can try right now.
With its focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing exercises are a simple, yet powerful, relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. Let’s try a few techniques now.
Diaphragmatic Breathing, or “Belly Breathing”, is easy to do and very relaxing. Plus, you can try this basic technique anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.
You begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest. Now breathe out through pursed lips (as if you were whistling) and feel the hand on your belly go in. Next, push all the air out. Take your time doing this breathing technique anywhere from 3 to 10 times. How did you feel afterward?
Check out this helpful video from Nemours to learn more about belly breathing and see how it’s done properly at:
Breath Focus Technique
To start this breathing exercise, choose a focus word that makes you smile, feel relaxed, or that is simply neutral to think about. Examples include peace, let go, or relax, but it can be any word that suits your focus. For example, I picture waves of peace and calm throughout my body as I inhale and say the words “peace” and “calm”. Then I imagine the air I exhale washes away the tension and anxiety.
Research from Stanford University proves that the power of breath focus works. When combined with controlled breathing, your body will get the relaxation-inducing message from your brain and respond as if it’s really happening. Give it a try for 5 minutes and see if it doesn’t help you relax immediately.
4-7-8 Breathing (The Relaxing Breath)
Conscious breathing takes many forms. The 4-7-8 Breathing approach (or “Relaxing Breath”) requires a bit of concentration, but once you have it down it can help with reducing anxiety and even sleep.
To begin, find a comfortable sitting position and place the tip of your tongue on the tissue right behind your top front teeth. Now exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound to a count of eight. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle again.
To watch the proper approach, check out this link here.
Did these breathing exercises help you? Was there a technique that you would like to see included in future posts? I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re struggling to make healthy choices right now during this period of uncertainty, I encourage you to read this blog post. And please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to receive great blog tips straight to your inbox each Friday.