Breathing Strategies to Effectively Control Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety, you know how much your breathing is affected. Suddenly, it’s hard to breath and you feel pressure in your chest. I’ve had an anxiety attack before, and it’s scary stuff! I almost went to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack. Want to know how to control anxiety? It starts with your breath!
It makes perfect sense to use your breathing to control your anxiety. Your breathing is the only aspect of your physiology that you can consciously control with ease. You can force yourself to breath in and out, to slow your breathing down and to take deeper breaths. All of this will help control your anxiety! It works on the spot, any time, any where!
- Control your blood sugar
- Decide where your body stores fat
- Release hormones on demand
But you can control your breathing. You can breathe faster, slower, deeply, or shallowly. You can change your breathing at will. However, you just can’t say to yourself, “I’m going to reduce my blood pressure by 10 points,” and make it happen.
Too much anxiety can lead to mental exhaustion!
Your breathing has a great effect on your physiology. Using the power of your breath can be an effective way of controlling your anxiety. Best of all, it’s free and always available to you.
I’ve recently shared some great tips to beat work-related anxiety!
Scent can also affect your mood! Using essential oils is a great way to control your anxiety. I love Simply Earth Essential Oils, because they’re amazing quality, but also affordable. Plus, their recipe boxes are so fun to use!
Follow these strategies to use your breath to control your anxiety:
- Equal breathing. This technique has been around for thousands of years in various yoga traditions.
● Close your eyes and evaluate your normal breathing pattern. Notice how many seconds you spend breathing in and how long you spend breathing out. Do this for just a minute or two.
● Now, slowly count from 1-4 as you inhale through your nose. It’s fine to breathe through your mouth if your nose is stuffy.
● Exhale for the same 1-4 count.
● Neither your inhalations or exhalations should be overly full. Just breathe comfortable, full breaths.
● Keep the counts of your inhalations and exhalations the same. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
- Long exhale. This is a great breathing technique if you’re feeling panicked. It’s a very effective way to combat the effects of hyperventilation.
● Part 1: Extend your exhalations for as long as you can. Try to squeeze out as much air as possible without making yourself miserable.
● Then, relax and allow your lungs to naturally fill with air. You can do this by simply relaxing. It’s not necessary to actively inhale. If you’ve exhaled completely, your lungs will fill with air if you just relax. Continue for five full minutes.
● After five minutes have passed, try this next exercise for an additional five minutes:
● Part 2: Exhale for twice as long as you inhale. Three seconds in, and six seconds out is a good starting point. Try longer and shorter timeframes and see what effect it has.
- Belly breathing. This is one of the more popular breathing techniques to enhance feelings of wellbeing.
● Lie down and put one or both hands on your belly.
● Take a full, deep breath (you’ll feel your belly rise) and hold it for a short period of time. How long is up to you. Start with just a count of one and extend it as you see fit.
● Relax and allow your body to naturally expel the air. You’re not intending to exhale. You’re just relaxing and allowing nature to take its course.
● Pause again for as long as you like.
● Repeat. Again, 5-10 minutes is sufficient, but you can always go longer if you like.
- Alternate nostril breathing. This is another yoga technique that people seem to either love or hate. It’s a little more complicated, so it can be distracting. This is great if you need a distraction from your anxiety.
● Breathe normally, but only use one nostril at a time. Gently place your finger over one nostril, and then inhale and exhale through the other nostril.
● After you complete one breath cycle, close off your other nostril and repeat the process with the other side.
● This process can be combined with any other breathing technique. Play around with it and see what works for you.
These are just a few examples of breathing techniques that can be utilized to minimize anxiety.
Another thing that has changed my life is positive affirmations! You can change your thoughts and your mindset, but it’s not as easy as breathing. Positive affirmations are a great place to start!
It’s a fact that your thoughts become your world, so you can create your life!
Positive Affirmations For Anxiety:
I breathe in calmness and breathe out anxiety.
Each breath I take cleanses my mind. Calmness fills my lungs and spreads throughout my body with each inhalation. Stress and anxiety leave my body as I exhale. I spend the entire day constantly renewing myself as I breathe.
Breathing is my anchor to peace and serenity.
I am always at peace, because I can take my breath everywhere I go.
Focusing on my breathing keeps my mind in the present moment. There is nothing to worry about in the present, only in the past or the future. By remaining present, I naturally feel calm and relaxed.
My ability to relax in stressful situations continues to grow. I sometimes feel anxious in the most stressful situations, but I am strengthening my ability to cope with them. I am so pleased with my progress.
I know I can handle anything life may bring my way.
My ability to enjoy my life is increasing, too. My true-self is being revealed by my calm mental state. I am free of stress and anxiety.
Today, I remember to be aware of my breath and the many benefits it provides. I allow all of my stress and worries to leave my body with each breath. I welcome the soothing powers of each breath of fresh air.
- What is causing me the most stress in my life right now? What can I do about it?
- Do I allow my mind to focus too much on the past or the future?
- How would my perspective change if I avoided dwelling on the past or the future?
How you breathe and how you think can have a powerful effect on your body and your emotions. Learn how to use your breath to your advantage. And, keep your mind positive and healthy! Want to know how to control anxiety? The answer might already be within you.