Stress and anxiety are mental health issues that affect many people around the world. Fortunately, there are simple techniques to help manage these symptoms. One of them, often overlooked, is breathing.
Indeed, breathing is a natural bodily function that we can consciously use to help us reduce stress and anxiety, and improve our overall well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the 5 most effective breathing techniques for relieving stress and anxiety.
Abdominal breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, is a deep breathing technique that can help reduce stress and anxiety by bringing more oxygen into the body. To practice abdominal breathing, you must lie on your back or sit comfortably, placing one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
Then, you must inhale slowly through your nose, inflating your stomach, making sure that the hand on your stomach is raised and that on your chest moves little. Exhaling slowly through the mouth, let the belly deflate slowly. Repeat this deep breathing for a few minutes to feel the benefits of this technique. The benefits of abdominal breathing are numerous: it can help calm the mind, reduce muscle tension and improve digestion.
However, there are common mistakes to avoid, such as breathing too fast, not breathing deeply into your belly, or breathing through your mouth. For best results, it is recommended that you practice abdominal breathing regularly and focus on slow, steady breathing.
Square breathing is a regular breathing technique that can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve concentration. To practice square breathing, you must inhale slowly through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, exhale slowly through your mouth for 4 seconds and hold your breath for 4 seconds before starting again. By repeating this cycle, we form a “square” with the breath.
Square breathing can be done while sitting or lying down, and can be used any time of the day to help calm the mind and reduce stress. The benefits of square breathing are many: it can help balance emotions, improve focus, and increase oxygen delivery to the body.
It is important not to force your breath or hold your breath for too long, as this can cause hyperventilation or anxiety. For best results, it is recommended that you practice square breathing regularly and focus on slow, steady breathing.
To practice alternate breathing, you need to find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably with your spine straight. Once installed, one can begin to practice this breathing technique by placing the right hand in front of the face and bending the index and middle fingers towards the palm.
One should close the right nostril with the right thumb, inhale slowly through the left nostril, close the left nostril with the left ring finger and hold the breath for a few seconds. Then open the right nostril and exhale slowly through that nostril. Then, inhale slowly through the right nostril, close this nostril with the right thumb, hold the breath, open the left nostril and exhale slowly through this nostril. By repeating this cycle, we alternate breathing between the two nostrils.
The benefits of alternate breathing are numerous: it can help balance emotions, improve concentration and reduce anxiety. This technique can also help reduce blood pressure and improve sleep quality.
By regulating airflow through the nostrils, alternate breathing can also help balance activity on both sides of the brain, which can improve coordination and concentration. By practicing this breathing technique regularly, one can experience lasting mental and physical health benefits, as well as a sense of calm and inner peace.
Deep breathing is a breathing technique that can help relax the body and mind by improving blood oxygenation. To practice deep breathing, it is recommended to lie on your back or sit comfortably with your spine straight. Next, inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, ensuring that the air first fills your stomach, then your lungs.
Then exhale slowly and completely through your mouth, slightly contracting your abdominal muscles to help empty your lungs completely. Repeating this deep breathing for a few minutes can help relax the body and mind, reduce stress, and improve concentration.
The benefits of deep breathing are many: it can help improve sleep quality, reduce muscle tension and boost the immune system. By improving blood oxygenation, deep breathing can also help reduce fatigue and increase energy levels. In regular practice, this breathing technique can help improve mental and physical health in a lasting way.
4-7-8 breathing is a breathing technique that can help reduce stress and anxiety by calming the mind and regulating the breath. To practice the 4-7-8 breath, it is recommended that you sit comfortably with your spine straight. Next, take a slow, deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and slowly breathe out completely through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeating this cycle for a few minutes can help calm the mind and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
The benefits of 4-7-8 breathing are numerous: it can help improve sleep quality, reduce muscle tension and improve concentration. By regulating breathing, this breathing technique can also help reduce heart rate and regulate blood pressure, which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
By practicing this breathing technique regularly, one can experience long-lasting mental and physical health benefits, as well as a feeling of calm and relaxation. To better manage times of stress and anxiety, it is recommended to practice the 4-7-8 breath several times a day, or whenever you feel stressed or anxious.
It can also be useful to combine this breathing technique with other relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga or walking in nature. Finally, it is important to maintain a regular practice of 4-7-8 breathing to obtain the best results and to improve the quality of life in a sustainable way.
Regular practice of the 5 breathing techniques presented in this article can help relieve stress and anxiety in a natural and effective way. Whether you choose abdominal breathing, square breathing, alternate breathing, deep breathing, or 4-7-8 breathing, each technique can help you feel more relaxed, calmer, and more present in the present moment.
By incorporating these breathing techniques into your daily routine, you can improve your mental and physical health, reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, and improve your quality of life in a lasting way. So, feel free to try these breathing techniques and find the one that best suits your lifestyle and personal needs. Your body and mind will thank you!