Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

Breathing exercises for anxiety can be incredible helpful. While breathing exercises for anxiety can seem strange or difficult at first, they’re one of the most helpful ways to combat anxiety and anxiety attacks. Learning breathing exercises for anxiety will take some practice, and you’ll probably want to practice a few different types of breathing to see which ones may help you the most. Before you start trying breathing exercises for anxiety, here are three of the most helpful exercises that you may want to try:

Abdominal Breathing

This is a simple type of breathing exercise that you can do almost anywhere once you’ve learned to do it. This breathing exercise essentially helps you ensure that you’re breathing the correct way – through your abdomen rather than just through your chest. Since most adults don’t breathe properly, this is one of the best breathing exercises for anxiety to simply help you figure out how you should be breathing so that you can breathe that way on a more regular basis. Here’s how to practice this exercise:

First, get comfortable, either lying on the floor or sitting in a cross-legged position. If neither of these is comfortable, you can also sit up straight and tall in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen, and take a deep breath in. You may notice that the hand on your chest rises more than the one on your belly, which is incorrect. On your next breath, try to get your belly hand to rise more than your chest hand, which means you’re drawing breath deeply into the bottom of your lungs, rather than shallowly into just the top of your lungs. Once you know you’re breathing into your abs, continue this exercise for a few minutes until you feel calmer and more relaxed.

Yoga Breathing

In yoga, it’s common to coordinate the breath with a movement. Your breath helps your body contract muscles properly, stand up straighter, and move with ease. To practice this type of breathing, stand up with your feet about hip-width apart. Take a deep breath in as you raise your arms above your head. Hold your breath and arms for a few seconds, and then exhale fully as you release your arms back down to your sides. This is one of the best breathing exercises for anxiety, I think, because it can release tension in your shoulders and neck as well as help you breathe properly.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This is another common yoga practice. For this practice, you should sit in a cross-legged position on the floor. Start by closing your right nostril with your thumb and breathing just through your left nostril. Breathe in slowly while counting to four, and then close your left nostril and exhale while you count to eight. Then inhale through your right nostril, and exhale through your left. Alternate nostrils for inhaling and exhaling until you feel calmer and more relaxed.

These aren’t the only breathing exercises for anxiety, but they’re some of the most popular traditional practices. Practice each one a few times to see which works best for you. You may also like certain exercises at certain times of the day. For instance, you don’t like to practice obvious breathing exercises for anxiety – like nostril breathing or yoga breathing with movements – in the middle of your workday, but you can practice abdominal breathing right in your office or cubicle. On the other hand, if you find that nostril breathing and yoga breathing are more helpful for you, you might add these into your daily waking up or going to bed routine.