Are you pressured? Overworked? You need to calm your nerves. No one can claim that he or she does not suffer from anxiety. There are many ways that we can find calm to these pressures. Some of these ways have been proofed to be effective even in the healthcare sector. Today, I will give you the best 3 anxiety and breathing techniques to relax your nerves.
How do breathing techniques work?
Breathing techniques teach you the best way to balance your breath. The procedure involves exhaling for a longer duration than inhalation. Breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system which consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic pathways. When you are frightened, anxious, stressed or even depressed, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. It prepares the body for action making you be nervous. Breathing techniques activate the parasympathetic system. This is the part of the autonomic nervous system that antagonizes the effects of the sympathetic system. It will cool you down and let you remain calm.
The knowledge of these systems has led to the introduction of relaxation techniques to the health sector as an alternative mode of treatment. Stress, anxiety, depression can be combated by activation of the body relaxation system. Relaxation helps us to remain calm when things are not ok. When the body relaxation system is activated the following responses follow;
- You heart rate will decrease; the blood pressure will stabilize
- Your muscles will relax from excessive tension
- The breathing rate will decrease; you will have slower and deeper breaths
Relaxation is therefore very important as it brings the body to a state of calmness. Breathing techniques ensure you achieve this relaxation.
Here are my best three anxiety and breathing techniques to relax. I have simplified them for easy understanding. The techniques can be performed anywhere and at any time so long as you avoid unnecessary distractions.
- Sama Virti
This technique involves balancing your breathing. It is the best technique to start with.
- Sit or stand in a place that you feel comfortable. You hands, back, and knees should be relaxed.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose as you count from one to four. The nose enhances resistive breathing. Allow your chest to rise and abdomen to expand as you inhale.
- Hold your breath for one to two seconds
- Exhale slowly as you count one to four still through your nose.
- Repeat this procedure for a couple of minutes. As you get used to this breathing techniques, you can prolong the counting from 4-6-8-10 minutes. This will make the exercise be effective.
- Abdominal breathing
As you perform this exercise, it is highly advisable that you be sitting or lying down in a comfortable place. Your shoulders should be relaxed. The abdominal muscles should be utilized in breathing and avoid raising your chest.
- Inhale deeply through your nose. Keep your hand on your stomach to feel your breathing
- Breathe out through your mouth, slowly and deeply. The air should pass through puckered lips to produce a whistling sound. This is the relaxation sound. Listen to it as you let your abdominal muscles contract back to an excess of their original position.
- Practice the exercise by doing it every day. It should be repeated for up to 30 minutes. In all this time, keep your full attention to the breathing pattern. Each time you do the exercise, tries to prolong the inhalation and exhalation time.
- Calm breathing
Here is the best breathing technique to carry out when you are fully tensed.
- Sit comfortably away from distractions. Flat sleeping is also allowed. All your muscles should be relaxed before initiating the breathing procedures.
- Inhale slowly and deeply. Ensure you take the deepest inhalation possible.
- Close your eyes and exhale slowly. As you do this, whisper the word “relax” to your mind, several times.
- Take one or two sessions of normal breathing.
- Take another deep breath and repeat the word “relax” as you slowly exhale
- Repeat the exercise for at least 15 minutes
Here are extra tips to activate the relaxation response through the three breathing techniques to relax
Create a routine to perform the breathing techniques. You can do this by choosing a comfortable place that you will be performing the exercise. In my part, I use my bedroom as I can lie down comfortably without distractions.
Avoid try too hard when you are a beginner. Trying too hard will increase tension that will prolong anxiety.
As you perform each of these exercises, focus on the breathing pattern rather than the life stressors. You only activate the relaxation response if you distract your mind from the stressing situations.
Make the breathing patterns a habit. The more you practice, the better the outcome. Performing it twice daily for at least 20 minutes is recommended. Other relaxation techniques that can be incorporated include;
- Muscle relaxation techniques
- Prayer and Meditation
- Guided imagery
Hoping this guide has given you a new way to relax when you are anxious. I would like to hear from you if the guide has been helpful. Please leave a comment if you have tried any of these exercises.