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.
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.
- 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.
- Take one deep breath in and notice how your stomach expands, your chest should rise too but only slightly.
- 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.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 another 5-10 times.
The more you practice this exercise the easier it will become.
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.
- Make sure you are in a comfortable seated position before beginning.
- Exhale through your mouth. This is necessary to empty the lungs of air before starting the exercise.
- Breathe in through the nose to the count of 4.
- Hold the breath, neither breathing in or out for a count of 7.
- Exhale through the mouth for a count of 8.
- 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.
- Make sure you are in a comfortable seated position.
- Place your left hand on your lap and the index finger on your right hand against your left nostril.
- Breathe in through your right nostril for 2 counts.
- With the thumb on your right-hand pinch, the nose closed, holding the breath for 6 counts.
- Lift the index finger from your left nostril and exhale for 4 counts.
- With your thumb still, on the right nostril breathe in through your left nostril for 2 counts.
- Pinch the nose closed again and hold the breath for 6 counts.
- Lift the thumb from your right nostril and exhale for 4 counts.
- 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.