Inhale… Exhale… Have you ever practiced breathing exercises?
These relaxation techniques help relieve day-to-day stress and help you sleep better. That is why they are tools that, although they may seem simple, have great power when it comes to leading us to calm and tranquility.
Therapists in the management of anxiety and stress use even the breathing exercises you will see below. Whether you are a business essay writer or an IT specialist, these exercises will definitely work for you. You will need nothing more than your willingness to put them into practice. Get comfortable, and you’ll be ready to begin.
Equal Breathing (Sama Vritti)
We begin with one of the most commonly used breathing exercises to relieve stress, bring calm to the body or fall asleep. The qualitative breathing technique consists of inhaling through the nose for up to 4 seconds and then exhaling for another 4 seconds.
This relaxation exercise works especially well for falling asleep because concentrating on your breathing will distract your mind from everything distracting it from the present moment.
With the constant practice of this first exercise, it is possible that soon you will be able to train your breathing to hold your breath for up to 6 or 8 seconds, just as experts in yoga and other meditation techniques do.
Among the exercises to calm anxiety, this is one of the simplest, which makes it ideal for beginners and, in general, anyone who wants to practice slow breathing to relieve their emotional state.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
Yoga is a fascinating discipline that has extraordinary benefits for the body and mind of those who practice it. Alternate nostril breathing is one of yoga’s most commonly used breathing exercises to induce relaxation and reduce anxiety.
You can practice this relaxation technique by sitting in a comfortable meditation position and plugging your right nostril with your right thumb. You then inhale deeply through your left nostril.
Once you have inhaled deeply through your left nostril, with your left thumb, you plug it and exhale through your right nostril. Then, following this rhythm, inhale through your right nostril, exhale through your left nostril, and so on until the stress is reduced.
Note that each breathing exercise is used for different purposes. This technique is usually used to increase concentration and boost energy. Therefore, falling asleep is not highly recommended, unlike the previous one.
Progressive relaxation technique
You can resort to this breathing exercise when you need to calm anxiety or any negative emotion that destabilizes your peace of mind.
To practice it, tense and relax each muscle group for several seconds. Start with your toes and end with your eyes, keeping your breathing slow and deep at all times.
While tensing the muscles and breathing slowly through the nose, you can count the seconds and then expel the air through the mouth. The effect of concentration on the tension of the muscles and conscious breathing will make you forget everything that is around you at that moment. You will calm down in a matter of seconds!
Abdominal breathing technique
To practice this famous breathing technique, you just need to put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach and then inhale deeply through your nose so that you feel your diaphragm swell until your lungs widen.
Abdominal breathing practiced daily has powerful effects in reducing heart and blood pressure. You can take 6 to 10 slow breaths per minute and do it for 10 minutes a day anywhere, whether in the office, in your bedroom, before going into a stressful meeting, or giving a public speech.
Bright Skull Breathing (Kapalabhati)
Kapalabhati is a perfect relaxation exercise to wake up and energize your day.
To practice it, start with long but slow inhalation and then exhale the air vigorously from the lower belly. Once you feel comfortable, you can increase the pace of this conscious breathing exercise and perform it every 1 or 2 seconds.
If you take about 10 breaths, your brain will wake up, and your body will warm up, so it is recommended for the beginning of a long day full of activities. Do not worry if, at first, you do not manage to perform this relaxation exercise correctly, as its difficulty level is advanced.
However, with daily practice, you will be able to perfect the technique and enjoy the benefits of one of the complete breathing exercises.
We have reached the last, but not the least effective. In fact, guided visualization is one of the techniques most used by therapists for stress and anxiety management. Have you ever practiced it?
This relaxation exercise consists of going to your happy place when you want to escape a stressful situation. The idea is to breathe deeply and consciously while concentrating on that positive image your mind is recreating.
To do this, just close your eyes, breathe, and think of a pleasant place or situation that makes you forget about everything else. This relaxation exercise is one of the most effective resources for mindfulness, a type of meditation that aims to focus on the present moment to live in the here and now.
Like mindfulness and conscious meditation, yoga is also one of the practices that focuses attention on breathing, providing hundreds of benefits for physical and mental health.
Benefits of breathing exercises
Breathing exercises have so many benefits that it seems surprising how something simple can be so powerful for your health. Here are some of the benefits of practicing deep breathing techniques:
There is nothing more effective for improving concentration than focusing on your breathing. Can anything be more “present” than being aware of our inhalation and exhalation process?
When we do deep breathing exercises, we can live in the here and now, be truly aware of what is around us, and turn off that “autopilot” that sometimes gets us through so much unpleasantness.
All the breathing exercises you saw in this article aim to anchor you to your present moment to reduce anxiety, which is often generated by the effects of our own mind living in the future.
And as if that weren’t enough, focusing on the present moment has an incredible effect on memory because by practicing mindfulness, you will be able to remember better the situations you experience on a daily basis. This is a powerful reason to start practicing these breathing exercises!
They bring calm in times of stress
According to BBC, the opposite seems to happen when we need to stay calm. Our heart races, our palms sweat, our voice sounds strange and shaky, and our mind goes blank.
If we take a few minutes to do a short session of deep breathing exercises in the midst of a stressful, angry, or raging situation, we can calm down a bit, put things in perspective, and then act as best we can.
They allow us to focus on the here and now
As we said before, there is nothing more present than focusing on your breath. Focusing on the here and now is the purpose of mindfulness techniques. This powerful life philosophy is indispensable for those who have realized that the best way to live is to be present, without worries about the future or regrets about the past.
Responsibilities, stress, and worries prevent us from attending to what really matters, our mental well-being and the ability to embrace the present moment. So, after finishing this article, you have an important task for your health: live each moment as if it were the only thing that exists.
Decrease the sensation of pain
Practicing conscious breathing will allow you to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. When we feel physical pain, we often deal with it in a much more harmful way: we focus on it and hold our breath. Have you done it?
The next time you feel pain, try doing the opposite: turn your attention away from it and slowly inhale and exhale to focus on conscious breathing. You will see how little by little the sensation will diminish.
You already know 6 effective breathing exercises against anxiety, insomnia, or other emotions and sensations that can affect your well-being. We are sure you will have a night full of calm and relaxation practicing some of them today. Morpheus will come in seconds!
For now, we say goodbye so you can say hello to the calm and tranquility of good living!
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