Breathing—a fundamental necessity of life
Breathing is a fundamental necessity of life that usually happens without much thought. The lungs deliver oxygen into the body when breathing in and throw off carbon dioxide out of the body when breathing out.
When we feel anxious or are under stress, it is simpler to breathe excessively and end up hyperventilating—even if we’re aiming to do the opposite.
Breathe in and breathe out. One’s breath is a substantial tool to alleviate stress and make one feel less anxious. There are breathing techniques available that you can try to ease symptoms and start feeling better. These techniques can make a big difference if you make them part of your everyday routine.
Tips before getting started
Find a peaceful and quiet place to do your exercises. Focus and clear your mind of the things that are stressing you out. Make yourself as comfortable as you can—sit, stand, or lie flat in a comfortable position. Your clothing choice is also a factor. Comfort is important for a proper breathing technique execution, and if your clothes aren't comfortable, you won't be either.
- Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as deep breathing, is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body.
To do this, you just have to relax your shoulders and make yourself comfortable. Place a hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose for about 2 seconds and feel the air move through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand. Make sure that your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains relatively still. Purse your lips as if you’re whistling, press gently on your stomach, and exhale slowly for about 2 seconds.
- Breath focus is quiet simple to carry out as deep breathing is its foundation.
To do this, sit or lie comfortably with your eyes closed. Combine deep breathing with helpful imagery and a focus word or phrase that will help you relax. Visualize your inhale washing over you like a gentle wave. Visualize your exhale carrying tension and upsetting thoughts and energy away from you. As you breathe in, try saying your focus word or phrase to yourself: “Breathing in calm.” And as you exhale, say: "Breathing out anxiety."
- Equal breathing means inhaling for the same amount of time as you are exhaling—making your breath smooth and helps bring about balance.
To do this, choose a comfortable seated position. Inhale and exhale through your nose. Count during each inhale and exhale to make sure they are even in duration. As you breathe in and breathe out, be mindful of the feelings of fullness and emptiness in your lungs.
- Resonant breathing, also known as coherent breathing, reduces stress and can help get into a relaxed state.
To do this, gently breathe in through your nose for a count of 5 seconds. Remember to not fill your lungs too full of air. Exhale for 5 seconds, allowing your breath to leave your body slowly and gently.
- Lion’s breath, this breathing technique involves exhaling forcefully.
To do this, come into a comfortable seated position. You can sit back on your heels or cross your legs. Press your palms against your knees with your fingers spread wide. Inhale deeply through your nose and open your eyes wide. At the same time, open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue, bringing the tip down toward your chin. Contract the muscles at the front of your throat as you exhale out through your mouth by making a long “ha” sound. You can turn your gaze to look at the space between your eyebrows or the tip of your nose.
We are what we breathe in. Trust the creative power you possess, and believe on your self-healing capability. Bring your awareness to your breathing and make the choices that create harmony in your life.