Breathing to reduce stress and anxiety

Author: Amber Houghton   Date Posted:2 April 2014 

Take a deep breath to reduce stress

Conscientious breathing exercises can help remove you from the immediate situation that is causing you stress. It helps you re-focus your attention, and deep breathing physically relaxes your body and allows you to produce endorphins, among other biochemical substances, to help you feel calmer.

Many panic attacks are accompanied by shallow breathing, and shallow breathing may in turn lead to a panic attack for some people. Deep breathing can prevent panic attacks from occurring in the first place and help to end a panic attack that has already started. People who suffer from anxiety without attacks can also benefit from deep breathing exercises.

Practitioners can try different methods to reduce mild anxiety immediately and help relieve stress over time:

  • Coherent breathing requires you to breathe exactly five times per minute. These breaths will be long and deep. A count to five during inhale and a count to five during exhale achieves this exercise.
  • Resistance breathing is a specific type of breath where you purse your lips and hold your tongue against the upper part of your teeth to create resistance to the air. It may create a hissing sound, and breathing through a straw achieves a similar effect to help calm nerves.
  • Breath moving involves you imagining that you are moving the breath through your body. As you breathe in, visualize the breath moving to the top of your head. When you breathe out, imagine that your breath is moving through your bones to the base of your spine. Repeat for ten cycles. You can help the efficacy of these breathing techniques by dropping your shoulders and loosening your hands and knees to allow full body relaxation to occur.
     
Written by Amber Houghton
Amber Houghton

Amber holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Naturopathy, and has a particular passion for nutritious, whole-food eating. She feels education surrounding the best dietary and lifestyle choices are fundamental in allowing people to take responsibility for their own health, and to help with the maintenance of their well-being.

Although passionate about wholesome food, Amber does confess to having a particular fondness for cake, and enjoys a slice every now and then.