4 Breathing Exercises You Can Do to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Breathing is the cheapest and easiest way that you can calm down when you have anxiety or if you are under a lot of stress. Simply breathing deeply for six or more times can help signal your brain that everything is okay, and it can also help calm your nervous system down.
You do not have to spend money or even leave your desk to calm down if you just do a few breathing exercises. It is also very easy to do them in the car when traffic is getting on your nerves or in the shower in the morning before you go to work.
A Way To Replace Bad Behaviours That Are Triggered by Anxiety
What I am trying to do is replace some of my anxious behaviours like biting my nails or picking my skin with just doing a few breathing exercises to help me calm down and reduce the need for the coping mechanism in the first place. Perhaps doing so will help you too. It is hard to just get rid of a habit, you have to replace it with something else that also gives you the desired effect.
My bad habits are my way of trying to calm down (in some weird way), so replacing it with a habit that can help me calm down sounds logical to me. A good idea is to also make a list of twenty ways that you can relieve anxiety that you can turn to in need. The more you have, the less likely it is that you will become addicted to one.
Although, if you become addicted to meditation, it might not be a bad thing for reducing stress.
Breathing Exercises Make Meditating Easier, Which Helps Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Meditating is also very hard, but if you start with just doing breathing exercises, it will become easier to meditate later on. It will become easier to calm down enough to focus and start blocking out your thoughts.
It Helps You with Mindfulness
If mindfulness is what you are after (and mindfulness is great for reducing anxiety), then you can pair breathing exercises with another activity you like, such as hitting golf balls at the driving range, doing yoga, walking, painting, eating dark chocolate, etc.
There are a few types that I found were particularly helpful in helping me to reduce my anxiety. Here are four breathing exercises that can help you with stress and anxiety:
This breathing exercise is probably the one that I do most and it is easiest to start with. All you need to do is breathe in deeply through your nose for a few counts and then breathe out for the same number of counts. You can start with breathing in for four counts and out for four.
As that becomes more comfortable, you can move up to five counts, six counts, seven counts, or even eight. It is said that breathing out deeply for seven seconds is the ideal number to help you relax when you are dealing with stress and anxiety.
Perhaps try to do this for ten minutes in the morning every day for a week and see how it feels and if it helps with your stress and anxiety.
2. Box Breathing
Box breathing can be a bit uncomfortable at first, but if you struggle to deal with difficult situations or want to train your body to be less anxious in general, this one is great.
To do box breathing, you inhale through the nose for a few counts, hold your breath for a few, then breathe out, and hold the breath again. You can decide on how long you want to inhale and exhale, and how long you want to hold your breath.
In the beginning, you may want to do a type of box breathing where you inhale through the nose for four counts, for example, but only hold the breath for two, especially if you are prone to getting anxious. I find that holding my breath for longer than four seconds still makes me feel anxious, but eventually, the body starts adapting to the stress and you start to relax more.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing
This one you might want to do at home if you are prone to getting embarrassed easily. What you do is you block your one nostril with with one finger and breathe in through the open one, then block the open one, open the one that was closed, and breathe out. Then breathe in through the nostril that is currently open, close it, open the other one, and breathe out.
4. Belly Breathing
This one is easy. Place your hand on your stomach, and make sure that as you breathe in deeply through your nose for your chosen number of counts, that your stomach also expands. Then, when you breathe out, make sure that you push all of the air from your belly out, as well as your lungs.
A lot of people do not breathe in deeply enough, and when the body detects shallow breathing, it can also trigger anxiety. That is why belly breathing is one of the greatest ways of ensuring that you do breath deeply enough.
Even if you only start by doing one of these once a week on a Sunday afternoon, that is already progress towards reducing stress and anxiety. Over time, you can increase the frequency to twice a week, three times a week, once a day, twice a day, or whenever suits you or you feel anxiety or stress taking over.
A big part of feeling like a superhuman is not feeling overwhelmed by the daily tasks of life and feeling like you can take on anything. Adopting this habit will enable you to reduce stress at any time, and who knows, if you do it for a few months, life could be entirely different.
If you reduce your stress levels, your health will greatly improve, and you may even live longer. It can help you become superhuman.