Your doctor just called to let you know your test results are back. You’re anxious. You’re afraid of what the test may reveal. Your head is swimming. You can’t concentrate. So you start doing some breathing exercises for anxiety to calm down.
Studies show deep-breathing exercise can have a positive impact on your health. It can do things like:
That’s because it helps control cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone made by your adrenal glands. It regulates a wide range of processes including:
- Stress response
- Regulate blood sugar
- Fight infections
But it’s mostly known as the stress hormone, so controlling it can work wonders for your mental health. It’s easy to do with some simple breathing techniques. So, here are 3 breathing exercises for anxiety that can help you live a healthier life.
Breathing Exercises for Anxiety: Calming Breath
One of the best breathing exercises for anxiety is to take calming breaths. This is sometimes called “diaphragmatic breathing.” This breathing exercise will help you become more aware of your natural breathing pattern.
- Take a slow breath in through the nose, breathing into your lower belly (for about 4 seconds)
- Hold your breath for 1 or 2 seconds
- Exhale slowly through the mouth (for about 4 seconds)
- Wait a few seconds before taking another breath
About 6-8 breathing cycles per minute are often helpful to decrease anxiety but find your own comfortable breathing rhythm. This breathing technique may also help you if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Breathing Exercises for Anxiety: Purifying Breath
This breathing exercise is great for anxiety and can help make you feel more refreshed.
- Stand or sit straight
- Breathe in a full natural breath, as described above
- Hold your breath for several seconds
- Make a small opening between your lips and blow a little air out
- Stop exhaling for a while, and then blow more air out
- Repeat this until you have blown all the air out
- Practice for a few minutes
You can blow all of your anxiety out with each exhale.
Breathing Exercises for Anxiety: 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
The 4-7-8 breathing technique can be done anywhere and it has five easy steps:
- Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, right behind your front teeth
- Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4
- Hold your breath for a count of 7
- Release your breath from your mouth with a whooshing sound for a count of 8
- Without a break, breathe in again for a count of 4, repeating the entire technique 3-4 times in a row, then resume normal breathing and activity.
The whole exercise will take just 57 seconds!
Breathing Exercises for Anxiety Are Easy to Do
There are many benefits of trying these breathing exercises for anxiety. Most importantly, you’ll be rewarded with nearly instantaneous effects and they don’t have to be complicated to work. Other benefits include:
- A slower heart rate.
- You can focus on your breathing anywhere
- Breathing exercises for anxiety are free.
If you’re not able to control stress and anxiety in your life, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of developing heart disease. If you’d like more information on the risk factors for heart disease, download our guide “The Heart Disease Facts That Could Change Your LIfe.” You’ll learn ways to prevent heart disease and the risk factors that should matter most to you.