Let’s face it; there are plenty of times that stress and worry can get the best of us. We’re only human, right? That doesn’t mean that our days have to be dominated by emotions. In fact, these are five breathing exercises to try when you feel anxious.
Alternate nostril breathing
Some breathing exercises are simple, but they have incredible benefits. One on the list is alternate nostril breathing. It can help to relax our spine and any tension while also letting go of anxiety. Simply use your thumb or finger to close one of your nostrils, gently pinch your nose shut, and exhale through the alternate nostril. Repeat the same process but the other way around for around 40 seconds.
Focusing on how you breathe is a great way to slow your heart rate and reduce any built-up anxiety. Take a moment to think about how it feels when you breathe like usual. Now, take a deep breath and notice how your chest and belly move as you slowly inhale and exhale. You can even use a calming focus word to utter as you exhale, such as “calm” or “safe.” Try this technique for 20 minutes a day to get the full benefits.
Elongate your exhale
While inhaling is linked to the fight-or-flight response, exhaling is the part that influences how our body can calm down and relax. Taking too many deep breaths when stressed can actually lead to hyperventilation, meaning elongating your exhale could save everything at once. All you need to do is start focusing on how long you release air after taking a deep breath. Try to ensure your exhale is at least a few moments longer than your inhale.
Perhaps you want to really let go of your anxiety? Lion’s breath is a great way to do so. Start by getting onto your knees and sitting back on your feet. Place your hands on your knees and stretch your fingers. Then, take a deep breath in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth while saying “ha.” Make sure your mouth is open as wide as possible, and your tongue is stretched to your chin. Also, ensure you look at the top of your nose before relaxing your face to inhale and repeat.
Guided meditation is all about focusing on your breathing while relaxing the mind and clearing out any worries from the day. There are plenty of videos online and classes that teach us all we need to know about focusing on our breathing. The best bit? We can do this at home, in class, or even at our desk if we need five minutes to reset our thoughts, as guided meditation can be done just about anywhere.
These breathing exercises to try when you feel anxious could be the difference between letting our emotions take control and learning how to let go of stress and worry. The best bit? Most of them can be done just about anywhere, meaning anxiety should be a thing of the past.