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Breathe In, Breathe Out: Effective Breathing Exercises for Anxiety Relief

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Living in a fast-paced world can often leave us feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Whether it's work-related stress, personal challenges, or the constant bombardment of information, anxiety has become a common companion for many. While there are various coping mechanisms available, one simple and effective technique that can provide immediate relief is practicing breathing exercises. In this blog post, we will explore some powerful breathing exercises that can help alleviate anxiety and promote a sense of calm and well-being.


1. Diaphragmatic Breathing:

Also known as belly breathing or deep breathing, diaphragmatic breathing is a technique that focuses on engaging the diaphragm to promote relaxation. To practice this exercise, find a comfortable position and place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise as you fill your lungs with air. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall. Repeat this process for several minutes, focusing on the sensation of your breath and letting go of any tension or worries.


2. 4-7-8 Breathing Technique:

Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, the 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple yet powerful exercise that can quickly calm the nervous system. Start by sitting or lying in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to four. Hold your breath for a count of seven, and then exhale slowly through your mouth, counting to eight. Repeat this cycle three more times, allowing your body to relax with each breath.


3. Box Breathing:

Box breathing, also known as square breathing, is a technique commonly used by Navy SEALs to enhance focus and reduce stress. Begin by inhaling deeply through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of four, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four. Finally, hold your breath again for a count of four before starting the cycle again. Visualize tracing the shape of a square with your breath as you go through each step. Repeat this exercise for several minutes, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable.


4. Alternate Nostril Breathing:

Originating from yoga, alternate nostril breathing is a technique that balances the flow of energy in the body, promoting a sense of calm and harmony. Sit in a comfortable position and use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale deeply through your left nostril, then use your right ring finger to close your left nostril. Exhale slowly through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, close it with your thumb, and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat this cycle for several minutes, focusing on the sensation of the breath and the balance it brings.


Breathing exercises offer a simple yet effective way to manage anxiety and promote relaxation. By incorporating these techniques into your daily routine, you can cultivate a sense of calm and well-being, even in the midst of life's challenges. Remember, the power to find peace lies within your breath. So, take a moment, breathe in, breathe out, and let go of anxiety.


By: Alison Napoleon

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