4 Effective Breathing Techniques to Reduce Anxiety

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Breathing techniques force us to remember that this metabolic act is much more than a physical process. Breathing well produces pleasure, alleviates anxiety, and allows us to live better. Therefore, it would be very useful to make breathing a much more conscious, focused and harmonious act in our day to day life.

Most people have never stopped to analyze the way they breathe. In fact, the question would be, why do it? Our body is a perfect machine that performs a lot of processes automatically, guaranteeing our survival. Thanks to this, we can dedicate a good part of our energy to other tasks, like reading this article, for example.

“As I breathe, I see myself as a mirror of water. As I breathe out, I reflect on things as they are. ” 
– Thich Nhat Hanh –

Reflecting on all this can do us very well. Neglecting the body and allowing our emotions to dominate us brings serious consequences. We must not forget that an exhausted organism, dominated or controlled by excessive preoccupation, haste or anxietytranslates into faster and abnormal breathing in a body that performs its metabolic functions in an unbalanced and even dangerous way.

You need to breathe well to live better, and these techniques can help us.

Conscious breathing

1. Breathing techniques: diaphragmatic breathing

When we think of breathing, we instantly visualize a couple of lungs. Well, we can say that the real responsible for this process is the diaphragm. It is located below the lungs and separating the thorax from the abdominal area. It moves when we breathe , and if we do it with amplitude, we will stimulate other organs like the liver and a great amount of tissues favoring the blood circulation and even the elimination of toxins.
We should pay attention to this area of ​​our body because the diaphragm is the essential part of most breathing techniques. Let’s see how to become aware of it and how to stimulate it.

  • Place one hand on the abdomen and another on the chest.
  • Shoulders should be straight.
  • Now breathe deeply through your nose.
  • Take air to the diaphragm (abdomen), not the chest.
  • Exhale through the mouth in a sonic way.
  • The ideal is to do between 6 or 10 slow breaths per minute.

2. Breathing alternating through the nostrils

This is one of the best known breathing techniques. It is also ideal for reducing anxiety, relaxing and promoting better concentration on a daily basis. Here are the steps we must follow:

  • Sit comfortably with your spine straight.
  • Now, with your right thumb, press the right nostril.
  • Then inhale the air through the left nostril in a deep way to the maximum limit.
  • Hold your breath and then press the left nostril and exhale from the right.
  • Repeat the process backwards.

It may seem complicated at first, but once we automate the steps, we will feel its benefits.

3. The breath of the shiny skull or kapalabhati

Kapalabhati is one of the most curious and effective breathing techniques to reduce anxiety and optimize our respiratory system. It helps us clear the airways and even improves lung capacity .

Woman meditating at work

The term kapalabhati comes from Sanskrit and is composed of two concepts: kapala, meaning “skull” and bhati, which means “glow or act of cleansing.” Let’s look at what it consists of:

  • Sit with your back straight.
  • Bring your chin up to your chest.
  • Close your eyes to focus more on breathing.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Now, do the following: make quick exhalations by contracting the muscles of the abdomen, imagining that you are touching the navel in the spine.
  • As you make these exhalations, your body will automatically inhale. Ideally do at least 10 to 15 times in a row. Rest a few minutes and start again.

Briefly, this technique consists of slow and deep inspirations followed by rapid and vigorous expirations.

4. Breathing technique with visualization

Many breathing techniques include multiple views to achieve deeper relaxation. However, it takes a little more experience for the whole process to benefit us and provide us with cathartic sensations that can ease tensions and reduce anxiety or stress .

So take note of this very original strategy.

  • Lie on the floor on a mat or even on the bed.
  • Place one hand on the abdomen and another on the chest to make sure you are breathing through the diaphragm.
  • Take a deep breath through your nose, imagine that you are on a beach and a wave is warmly covering your feet to the head. Feel its freshness, the bubbling of the water, the smell of the sea.
  • Exhale through the mouth and visualize the same wave receding slowly, relaxing …

Sea waves on the beach

These simple breathing techniques can help us to improve our well-being, take care of our health, and unleash all the tensions that, almost without realizing it, make us sick. Let’s find a few minutes throughout the day to breathe better, to live in harmony with our own body and its needs.

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