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Try out these 5 breathing exercises to deal with anxiety

Published on:14 May 2021, 09:45am IST
Anxiety can really get the better of you, but worry not because we have for you some breathing exercises that will help you in a big way!
Geetika Sachdev
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Reduce anxiety by following certain breathing techniques. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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The second wave of the pandemic is raging on, and unsurprisingly, it is causing severe anxiety among people. Sometimes, it can manifest in the form of breathlessness and queasiness in the stomach. But fret not, because the situation can be tackled well with the help of certain breathing techniques. Yes, you heard it right. 

So, without further ado, let’s get onto some exercises that will prove to be effective, when you’re having those anxiety attacks.

1. Focus on exhaling

Sounds strange, right? That’s because most people ask you to inhale and take deep breaths to feel better. When you take a deep breath, it is strongly linked to the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight-or-flight response. On the other hand, exhaling helps the body to relax and calm down. Remember when you take too many deep breaths, you might just hyperventilate and that’s not a good sign. 

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Before taking a deep breath, try exhaling.
2. Spend more time exhaling than inhaling. You could try inhaling for four seconds, and exhaling for six to seven seconds.

3. Try doing this for two to five minutes.

2. Abdomen breathing

This breathing technique can help you reduce anxiety, because you’re primarily breathing from your diaphragm. 

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Lie down on the floor or bed with pillows beneath your head and knees. You could also choose to sit in a comfortable chair with your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed.

2. Make sure your knees are bent.
3. Put one hand under your rib cage, and the other over your heart.
4. Inhale and exhale through your nose.

Breathing exercises can help you relax. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Now, practise belly breathing:
1. Sit or lie down, whatever is most comfortable for you.
2. Place one hand on your chest, while the other can be on your stomach somewhere above your belly button.
3. Breathe in through your nose; you will notice your stomach rise. Your chest should remain relatively still.
4. Exhale through your mouth.

3. Breath focus

When you breathe slowly, it helps you calm down. You can do this technique, either while lying down or sitting on a chair.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Inhale and exhale normally, and try to scan your body. It is quite possible that you experience tension in certain parts of the body.

2. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose.
3. You will notice your belly and upper body expanding.
4. Exhale properly.
5. Do it for a few minutes.
6. You can choose a word and say it during this practice. It could be anything from happy to safe.
7. You can visualise a gentle wave washing over you, when you inhale.
8. While you exhale, let out all the negative energy. 

Practice this technique for up to 20 minutes daily when you can.

4. Equal breathing

As the name suggests, you inhale for the same amount of time, as you exhale. You can practise this exercise, while sitting or lying down.

Breathe easy with these exercises. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Here’s what you need to do:

1. Close your eyes, and focus on your breathing pattern.

2. Slowly count 1-2-3-4, as you inhale through your nose.
3. Exhale to the same count.
4. When you do this, be conscious of the feelings of fullness and emptiness in your lungs.

5. Resonant breathing

Also known as coherent breathing, it can help you calm down in more ways than one.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Lie down and close your eyes.

2. Slowly breathe in through your nose, with your mouth closed, and count for six seconds.
3. Don’t fill your lungs completely.
4. Exhale for six seconds, and allow your breath to leave your body gently.
5. Continue for up to 10 minutes.
6. Try to assess how your body feels. 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.