One of the most popular and effective methods is deep breathing. It helps to calm the mind and body, providing a sense of peace and balance in a stressful situation. Read on to learn the four different deep breathing techniques you can use to combat anxiety.
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is an effective technique to combat anxiety. It is a calming, deep breathing exercise that focuses on controlling your breathing rate and depth. Regular practice can significantly relieve anxiety symptoms and reduce overall stress levels.
The goal of diaphragmatic breathing is to slow down your breathing rate and deepen your breathing. During the exercise, you should consciously focus on the rise and fall of your stomach as you inhale and exhale. It helps to reduce anxious thoughts, as focusing on each breath helps to clear your mind.
2. Alternative Nostril Breathing
This technique engages both sides of the brain and creates equilibrium in the body. Start by sitting or lying comfortably and focusing on your breath to begin this technique. Take a few long deep breaths inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
Once you have settled into a relaxed state, use your right thumb to close off your right nostril and inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril. Then use your ring finger to close off your left nostril as you slowly exhale through your right nostril.
3. Equal Breathing Exercise
Practising equal breathing is beneficial because it helps calm the body and the mind. Our brainwaves begin to synchronise when we practice this technique, allowing us to experience a greater sense of calm and balance.
This exercise involves breathing in and out for the same amount of time. For example, one might inhale steadily over a count of four seconds, then exhale evenly over a count of four seconds. The breath should be deep, slow, and steady and can be done sitting or lying down. It helps to counteract the physical sensations of anxiety, such as muscle tension, shallow breathing, and a fast heartbeat.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This technique involves taking slow, deep breaths while tensing and relaxing various muscle groups. PMR can be done while sitting or lying down in whatever position is most comfortable for you.
To start, focus on your breath. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale completely out of your mouth. Count each breath as you go, allowing yourself to relax more deeply with each cycle.
Next, begin concentrating on the muscles in your body. Start at the top of your head and work your way down to your toes. Tense each group of muscles for 5-10 seconds before releasing them and returning to your normal state of relaxation.
Visualise each wave of tension ebbing away from the muscle group and concentrate on how the muscles feel when they are relaxed, feeling the stress and strain melting away. Lastly, once you’ve worked through all of the major muscle groups in your body, allow yourself to rest for a few minutes before opening your eyes again.
Learning several deep breathing techniques is beneficial for combating anxiety. While it might seem intimidating to learn new strategies if you’re unfamiliar with them, taking some time to practice and understand the basics can set you up for success.
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