Sometimes your day can be thrown off track by fear and worries that are, for the most part, in your head.
Deep breathing techniques can help get you back on track and pull you back into the moment. They can help you refocus by relieving anxiety and have a calming effect.
Breathing is something so natural that we barely think about it. You breathe about 20,000 times per day without making an effort. So, how can something so natural and simple as breathing calm your fears and worries?
Known as “prana” to yoga practitioners, breathing has calming effects on your brain and the rest of your nervous system.
Anxiety speeds up breathing. When you purposefully slow your breath, it helps you gain more control over your mental state. Best of all, you can do it anywhere. Here are some different techniques to try.
Diaphragmatic or Belly Breathing: Start by sitting comfortably or lying on your back. Place one hand on the upper part of your chest and the other on your belly. Relax your stomach muscles and breathe slowly through your nose until you feel your belly start to rise.
Exhale slowly through pursed lips and feel your belly fall.
Box Breathing: Breathe out while counting to four. Hold your breath and count to four. Breathe in and count to four. Hold your breath and count to four. Repeat.
You can start with just a minute or two of deep breathing and increase from there. Try doing it for at least 10 minutes each day (5 sessions at 2 minutes to start), and try to focus on becoming aware of the feeling of the breath during each session. Pay attention to what happens when you concentrate on your breathing.
As you progress, you can try learning to meditate to take your calming efforts even further.