Stress or anxiety often manifests in different forms. Have you noticed that when you are anxious, stressed, or worried about something, you immediately start taking quick and shallow breaths?
The reason is thoracic breathing, which leads to raised heart rate, muscle tensions, and dizziness. This leads to an imbalance in the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, further aggravating the emotional disturbance.
On the contrary, deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing assists in regulating the heartbeat, blood flow, and digestion. Also, it is known to help alleviate stress levels.
All said and done, not everyone is conscious of how they breathe. Therefore, it is imperative to determine the breathing pattern by putting a hand on the upper abdomen near the waist and the second hand on the middle of the chest. Then, start breathing and notice which of your hands raise the most.
If you are breathing correctly, the hand on your abdomen will raise the most.
Now that you know the right way to breathe, especially when you are stressed out, here are some of the simple breathing exercises that will help your cause:
- Belly Breathing – About 20-30 minutes of simple belly breathing is known to help reduce anxiety and Stress. You can practice this by choosing a quiet place to sit or lie down. For instance, you can sit in your garden or balcony, close to nature, and carry out the exercise. Alternatively, you can also lie on your back, resting your head on a small pillow and keeping another pillow underneath your knees.
- Nadi Sodhana – Also known as alternate-nostril breathing, Nadi Sodhana is about blocking one of your nostrils at a time as you breathe through the other. Generally carried out in a seated position and gazing softly downward, this method helps in deep relaxation. Try doing this breathing practice at least for 10 rounds initially, taking a break if needed.
- Simhasana – Also called Lion’s breath, this technique requires you to stick your tongue out and roar like a lion. It can help you relax the muscles in the face and jaw, relieve Stress, and enhance cardiovascular functions. In a comfortable seated position, perform this breathing exercise, leaning forward and keeping your hands on the knees or on the floor.
These are some of the easiest breathing techniques known for alleviating stress levels and keeping anxiety at bay. Try them for a short duration every day and build up the time gradually.
Apart from breathing exercises, don’t forget to meditate as this will help you gain more long-term benefits. Heart-In-Tune is a free meditation app, which allows you to build the habit of meditation one day at a time. Download it to practice online meditation and reap the benefits.