The year 2020 has caused a lot of people to fall into depression and anxiety. COVID-19 pandemic outbreak made us suffer from a lot of difficulties. People faced the loss of loved ones, ran out of business, suffered isolation and lockdown situations, lost their jobs and suffered economical crises. In such tough times, people are practising a lot of practices to overcome anxiety and depression. Relaxation breathing techniques are one easy solution that you can look for to ease up your life.
We normally breathe for life however improper breathing can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. People suffer a panic attack, fatigue, anxiety and other emotional disturbance due to improper breathing. Try these best breathing techniques for anxiety to calm panic disorder.
1. Equal Breathing
Equal Breathing is one of the most practised breathing and stress relieving techniques also known as Pranayama Yoga popular since ancient times. Equal breathing means inhaling and exhaling for the same amount of time. The Equal Breathing technique is best practised in sitting posture while a few people also practice equal breathing in sleeping posture.
Step 1. Close your eyes and pay attention to your normal breathing system.
Step 2. Now start counting 1-2-3-4 while inhaling with your nose.
Step 3. Count same while exhaling in the same amount of time.
Practice this for around 5 minutes and be mindful while inhaling and exhaling while feeling your lungs full and empty.
2. The Lion’s Breath
The Lion’s Breath is an effective method of breathing for anxiety relief. In this method, your major focus is on forceful exhaling for a couple of minutes. You need to sit in a kneeling position while resting your bottom on your feet. You can also cross your ankle if you are comfortable doing it.
Step 1. Put your hands on your knees and stretch your arms and fingers.
Step 2. Take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Step 3. When you exhale, open your mouth as wide as you can, take your tongue out and try vocalizing “haaah” while touching your chin with your tongue.
Step 4. Focus on your forehead or the tip of your nose when you are exhaling.
Step 5. Get your face back to a relaxing posture while you inhale and again exhale Lion’s Breath in the same posture. Repeat this process for 5-6 times.
3. Abdomen Breathing
Normally we breath in the lungs also known as Thoracic (Chest) Breathing. While practising breathing techniques for anxiety, we follow Diaphragmatic (Abdominal) Breathing. Sit in a comfortable position with your legs folded and put one hand on your heart and other on your belly. Relax your head, neck and shoulder before you start focusing on your breath.
Step 1. Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nostrils.
Step 2. Hold for 2 seconds and open your lips to exhale slowly through your mouth.
Step 3. Focus on your breath as it should stretch your abdomen.
Step 4. While exhaling, squeeze your abdomen muscles to push out your complete breath.
Step 5. Repeat these relaxation breathing techniques for about 5 minutes and ensure you focus on your breath pattern as it should fill and flat your abdomen.
4. Resonate Breathing
Resonate breathing, also known as coherent breathing exercise is best practised for calming your mind and release anxiety. This breathing technique is practised in a sleeping position.
Step 1. Lie down straight in a relaxing position and close your eyes.
Step 2. Slowly breath in through your nose while counting 1-6 but don’t fill your lungs.
Step 3. Exhale slowly through your nose while counting 1-6 gently. Let this inhale and exhale process natural without forcing in any direction.
Step 4. Practice this for around 10 minutes and focus on how your body feels once you are done.
5. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing is another form of Pranayama and practised since ancient age. This is one of the best breathing techniques for anxiety and depression. Pranayama is practised in a sitting posture. Sit in a lonely place while straightening your spine and moving your chest out.
Step 1. Fold your legs and rest your left hand on your knee.
Step 2. Rest your right hand’s index finger and middle finger on your forehead between your eyebrows and close your eyes.
Step 3. Use your thumb to block your right nostril and inhale slowly with your left nostril.
Step 4. Use your ring finger to pinch your nose and hold the breath for a few seconds.
Step 5. Remove your thumb and exhale your breath through your right nostril.
Step 6. Wait for a second before you take the next breath. Now inhale slowly through the right nostril and exhale through the left one.
Step 7. Repeat this cycle of alternate nostril breathing for about 10 repetitions and focus on the two fingers on your forehead. Every cycle should take approximately 35-40 seconds.
6. 4-7-8 Breathing
4-7-8 Breathing is a controlled breathing technique for anxiety is a quick and simple method that can be practised anywhere anytime. Sit down and fold your legs while keeping your back straight.
Step 1. Breath in through your nose while counting 4.
Step 2. Hold your breath and count 7.
Step 3. Touch your upper front teeth with the back of your tongue as we do while whistling.
Step 4. Exhale through your mouth while making a whooshing sound and counting 8.
Step 5. Repeat this 3-5 times and experience quick relief from anxiety or in situations of panic attacks.
7. Guided Breathing
Guided breathing is a breathing technique to overcome stress and anxiety. This technique is majorly followed by beginners who are trying to build interest in meditation with breathing techniques. For guided Breathing, one needs to sit in a cool and calm place with an audio device.
With the help of recorded podcasts or with the help of a YouTube video, you can follow the steps as directed in the recorded file. Normally, these audio or video recording comes with background music and clear instructions about the posture and breathing techniques. These relaxation breathing techniques are labelled with periodic episodes and series in a progressive format.
In event of Panic Attacks, Anxiety or Depression, these are the best breathing techniques that you can follow and calm your mind and soul. Breathing for anxiety is a little different than regular breathing techniques and require your attention while practising. If these techniques can’t relax your mind, you should consult with a therapist and undergo proper medication.