3 Breathing Exercises That Will Help Your Anxiety

Breathing exercises are an extremely effective way to deal with anxiety especially if you feel a panic attack coming on so here are 4 breathing exercises to try out.


Abdominal Breathing 

When we’re feeling panicked or anxious we tend to take short shallow breaths. 

Abdominal breathing helps get your breathing pattern back to normal and is a great for panic attacks. 

  1. Sit up straight on a chair or lie down flat on your back placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. 
  2. Take one deep breath in and notice how your stomach expands, your chest should rise too but only slightly.
  3. Slowly exhale through your mouth noticing how your stomach falls. Engage your stomach muscles to control your exhalation and make it as slow as possible. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 another 5-10 times. 


The more you practice this exercise the easier it will become. 


4-7-8 Breathing

This is a type of rhythmic breathing also known as the ‘relaxing breath’ as it’s popular for anxiety relief and as a method of helping you fall asleep. 

  1. Make sure you are in a comfortable seated position before beginning.
  2. Exhale through your mouth. This is necessary to empty the lungs of air before starting the exercise.
  3. Breathe in through the nose to the count of 4. 
  4. Hold the breath, neither breathing in or out for a count of 7.
  5. Exhale through the mouth for a count of 8. 
  6. Repeat the process for at least a minute ideally for about 5 minutes.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This is a somewhat unusual type of rhythmic breathing but is very effective for anxiety as your mind is focused on counting and getting the technique right. 

  1. Make sure you are in a comfortable seated position. 
  2. Place your left hand on your lap and the index finger on your right hand against your left nostril.
  3. Breathe in through your right nostril for 2 counts.
  4. With the thumb on your right-hand pinch, the nose closed, holding the breath for 6 counts.
  5. Lift the index finger from your left nostril and exhale for 4 counts. 
  6. With your thumb still, on the right nostril breathe in through your left nostril for 2 counts.
  7. Pinch the nose closed again and hold the breath for 6 counts.
  8. Lift the thumb from your right nostril and exhale for 4 counts.
  9. You can repeat this up to 10 times but make sure you’re always breathing to the ratio: 1:4:2.


If you try any of these breathing exercises let us know how they work for you. 

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