Anxiety is an emotion everyone experiences at some point of time. Mostly, it is the physiological response to stress. When anxiety kicks in, controlling breath can help you stay calm and focussed. Breathing is a link between the body and mind; working on it is bound to affect your mood.
Here are simple breathing exercises that can help you relax and ease tension during stressful times.
The Stimulating Breath
Also known as The Bellows Breath, it is an ancient yogic breathing technique which aims to raise vital energy and increase alertness. It requires you to inhale and exhale quickly through your nose. Make sure your breaths (in and out) are of equal duration, but as short as they can be. Aim for three in-and-out breath cycles a second. When you are doing it for the first time, do not do it for more than 15 seconds. When you do it the second time, increase the duration by five seconds. The next time you feel the pressure or need an energy boost, turn to this exercise.
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
For this exercise, sit with your back straight. Your tongue should touch the ridge of the tissue just behind your upper front teeth. In this exercise, you have to exhale through your mouth around your tongue making a whoosh sound. Now close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose and count to four. Hold your breath for a second or two and exhale through your mouth again in the same way. Repeat the cycle for 5 times. Whenever you feel an internal tension, you can benefit from this exercise.
Breath counting is commonly used in Zen practice. Sit comfortably with your back held straight and head pushed slightly forward. Now close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and breathe naturally without trying to influence it. To begin the exercise, count ‘one’ to yourself as you exhale and the next time you exhale count ‘two’. When the count reaches ‘five’, start the counting again. Try to do the exercise for 10 minutes to deal with anxiety and keep the mind and body functioning at their best.
Apart from the aforementioned exercises, there are many other breathing exercises that can help centre the body by coordinating breathing. If you find that something is not right at any point of time, consult your doctor.
Read more articles on Generalized Anxiety Disorder.