In the Nasty Health Dangers of Chronic Stress I talked about the effects of stress and knowing the warning signs that you’re on stress overload. As you learn to recognize the signs that you’re feeling stressed out, one great tool to have in your arsenal are easy breathing techniques to reduce anxiety.
This doesn’t have to be complicated, and it can be as simple as taking a deep breath.
Hold on to this thought…the simple act of taking a few deliberate and slow breaths can help to reduce your stress levels dramatically. Easy breathing techniques are relaxing, supply the body with plenty of fresh oxygen, and relieve any tension you may have built up.
There’s lots of different ways to practice easy breathing techniques to reduce anxiety, relax and release that awful feeling of stress.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling stressed out and life feels like it’s just too much is to go outside for a quick walk. For me, this usually looks like walking around my big yard with my dogs a few times. It doesn’t even have to be long, 10 minutes at a time a few times a day is so beneficial. It releases tension, and is relaxation and rejuvenating.
You might think if it’s dragging you away from your desk that it’s a waste of time, but give it a try. Being inside or sitting at a computer for hours is incredibly draining. You’ll come back inside with more energy and a much clearer mind. You’ll get that time back and then some!
4-7-8 Breathing Technique
One of the many problems with stress is that it gives us a really short fuse. And that makes it harder to be kind and patient with those closes to us! Letting that anger out is rarely helpful. Instead, walk away and practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It’s really pretty simple!
- Breathe in for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breathe for 7 seconds.
- Exhale for 8 seconds.
- Repeat once or twice.
It may not seem like much, but you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel! While it may not do much to treat chronic stress in the long run, it is a quick distraction for your mind and an effective strategy to calm down quickly.
Try a Breathing Meditation
Breathing meditation techniques are very beneficial to know. They’re a very effective treatment to reduce anxiety and stress. Not only that, but they’re easy to do and you can do them anywhere…while waiting in your car, at the office, or standing in line anywhere. The basic idea is to take a few minutes to sit (or stand) quietly, with your eyes closed (if practical) focusing your mind only on your breath. Feel the air flowing in and out of your nose and try not to think of about anything else.
It’s very effective breathing technique once you get the hang of it. It does take practice, but do give it a try.
Deep Abdominal Breathing
Get in a quiet place, place your hands on your abdomen. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Try to completely expel the air.
Alternate nostril breathing
While sitting on the floor is optimal, you can also do this in the car.
- Place the thumb of your right hand on your right nostril and press firmly. Take in a breathe through your left nostril.
- Place the ring finger of your right hand on your left nostril and press firmly. Remove your right thumb from your right nostril and slowly breathe out.
Sit in a comfortable position, either at your desk or on the floor with your spine straight. Breathe in and out for equal counts, ranging from 1-4. Once you’re comfortable, you might try it for a bit longer.
Daily Breath Awareness
Schedule a 5 minute breath awareness during a quiet time of the day. Turn everything off, tune out and just focus on your natural breathing pattern. You can even do this in 1 minute breaks if that’s all you’ve got. Being conscious of your breathing will reduce anxiety, soothe emotions and even boost your energy.
Breathing exercises of any time will help to sooth frazzled nervous symptoms. I hope you’ll give these techniques a try!