Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises are a must-have in any anxiety-sufferers home treatment arsenal. If you’re suffering from anxiety on a regular basis, deep breathing exercises can help dramatically. They work in several different ways. Here’s what research says deep breathing exercises can do for you:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Boost energy
  • Increase oxygen levels
  • Boost digestion
  • Release internal physical tension
  • Stimulate metabolism
  • Decrease anxiety levels

As you can see, deep breathing exercises are really great, even if you aren’t suffering from chronic anxiety. One of the best ways that deep breathing exercises fight anxiety is by bringing your mind to the present. When you are forcing your mind to focus on your body and what it’s doing right now, you can’t think about the future that you’re so anxious about. With practice of deep breathing exercises, you’ll eventually learn to focus on the present more and more easily, which can be a great way to decrease anxiety.

There are all sorts of deep breathing exercises out there that you can try. Most of them come from ancient Eastern practices like yoga, where the breath is constantly used to move the body and to maintain the posture. I love practicing deep breathing exercises along with yoga, since I can kill two birds with one stone – get my physical exercise in for the day and do deep breathing – but you don’t have to do it this way. In fact, if you’re new to either yoga or deep breathing practices, it’s probably best to try them separately so you get the hang of each before you dive into them both at the same time.

Some Exercises to Try

One of the great things about deep breathing exercises is that if you practice them regularly, you’ll start to breathe better on a daily basis. Shallow, inefficient breathing is very typical of adults in this day and age. Your breath should move your entire abdomen, and if you watch an infant, this is how she’ll breathe. When you practice deep breathing intentionally, eventually it becomes more natural to breathe into your belly like you should. This is helpful for keeping you more oxygen filled, relaxed, and alert throughout the day, even when you aren’t consciously practicing your exercises.

The easiest of the exercises to try is simple abdominal breathing. Traditionally, you do this either lying on your back or sitting cross-legged in an upright position. Simply place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Take a deep breath in. You may notice that the hand on your chest rises further than the one on your abdomen. Breathe in again, this time focusing on drawing more air into your abdomen. Continue taking deep breaths until you can consistently get the hand on your abdomen to rise more than the one on your chest. That’s how you should be breathing all the time!

You can also try deep breathing exercises like three-part breathing. In this exercise you should draw air first into your abdomen, then into your mid-section, and then into your chest. Take a deep breath in, and feel your abdomen rise, then your midsection – where your diaphragm is – and then your chest and shoulders. Exhale in reverse. This is one of the simplest deep breathing exercises that you can do anywhere –even at your desk at work.