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Anxiety Breathing Techniques

By February 12, 2018November 19th, 2020Blog, Dr. Jenny Yip

You’re sitting in your office working over-time trying to make deadlines with your boss breathing down your neck. Your anxiety is at a new high, and you’re finding yourself looking for a way to calm down and un-stress. Maybe you’ve tried things like meditations or stress balls, you may have even spent money on a long massage or soothing spa day. While those things may have worked, what you may not have realized is that there was an easier, cheaper way to reduce anxiety, and it is simply by controlling your breathing. Often times, when people first hear that changing your breathing patterns can affect your anxiety, they are skeptical. Because it has no cost tied to it, what do you have to lose in trying it? All around the world, people are using breathing techniques in their everyday lives. These techniques don’t have to take up a lot of time, and you can do them wherever you are at any time. If you decide to take a chance and try it, below are a few different breathing techniques you can use for your anxiety.
Measured Breathing
This technique is a good tool for high anxiety because it allows your body to take a few minutes away from whatever is causing you anxiety so that you are able to relax and let your breathing soothe your mind and lower your blood pressure. For this exercise, you’ll want to be sitting down. Sit with your back straight and your arms relaxed. You start by slowly taking in a deep breath which should take 5-6 seconds. Allow your stomach to expand while you breathe in. Then hold the breath in for a few seconds before slowly letting it out. As you breathe out you’ll want to release it like your whistling without making any noise. The exhale should last about 7 seconds. Repeat this around 10 times or until you feel the tension leaving your muscles and your mind relax.
Rebreathing Exercise
The rebreathing exercise is good for leveling out carbon dioxide levels in your body. This technique is especially useful if you’re on the verge of an anxiety attack. It may not stop the attack completely, but there are studies showing that it can make the oncoming less severe if it doesn’t prevent it. In this exercise, you’ll want to cup your hand over your mouth and try to breathe slowly. Focus on keeping your breaths even and slow so your body can regain balance. If hyperventilating occurred before, this is especially important because your body will have high levels of oxygen.
Deep Breathing or Relaxation
This technique is a quick and easy way to relax after a stressful situation. For this technique, you’ll start by relaxing your shoulders and back and you’ll breathe in slow and deep through your nose. Your chest should rise very little, but your stomach should expand a great deal. Exhale slowly through your mouth, keeping your mouth pursed and your tongue relaxed. Focus on the movement of your body and the sound of your breathing. Repeat until you feel relaxed.