Anxiety is a common and unpleasant emotion that can interfere with our daily functioning and well-being. It can cause physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty breathing. It can also affect our mental state, making us feel nervous, restless, fearful, or worried.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to cope with anxiety is to practice deep breathing. Deep breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a technique that involves breathing slowly and deeply from your abdomen, rather than your chest. When you breathe deeply, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming your body and mind. You also increase the oxygen supply to your brain and other organs, which can improve your mood, focus, and energy.

“Inhale the future, exhale the past.”

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Benefits of deep breathing

There are many benefits of deep breathing for anxiety, such as:

– Relieving emotional stress and anxiety. Deep breathing can help you relax and reduce the intensity of negative emotions. It can also help you detach from your thoughts and feelings and observe them without judgment.  

– Relieving pain. Deep breathing can help you cope with physical pain by releasing endorphins, the natural painkillers of your body. It can also reduce muscle tension and inflammation that can worsen pain.  

– Improving mood. Deep breathing can help you feel more positive and optimistic by stimulating the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood. It can also lower the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that can cause depression and anxiety.  

– Improving symptoms of depression. Deep breathing can help you combat the symptoms of depression, such as low energy, low self-esteem, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts. It can also enhance your cognitive function and memory by increasing blood flow to the brain.  

– Improving focus, attention and general psychomotor function. Deep breathing can help you improve your concentration and performance by clearing your mind and sharpening your senses. It can also boost your creativity and problem-solving skills by enhancing your brain activity.  

How to do deep breathing

There are different ways to practice deep breathing, but here is a simple method that you can try anytime and anywhere.

– Find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down.

– Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen.

– Breathe in slowly through your nose for four seconds, feeling your abdomen rise as it fills with air.

– Hold your breath for four seconds.

– Breathe out slowly through your mouth for four seconds, feeling your abdomen fall as it empties.

– Repeat this cycle for four minutes or longer.

You can also use a timer or an app to guide you through the process.

Tips for breathing 

To make the most out of deep breathing, here are some tips to keep in mind:

– Practice regularly. The more you practice deep breathing, the more natural it will become and the more benefits you will experience. Aim for at least 10 minutes a day or whenever you feel anxious or stressed.

– Be mindful. Pay attention to how you breathe throughout the day and notice when you are breathing shallowly or rapidly from your chest. Try to switch to deep breathing whenever possible.

– Use cues. You can use certain triggers to remind you to practice deep breathing, such as an alarm, a bracelet, a sticker, or a mantra. You can also associate deep breathing with certain activities, such as waking up, going to bed, or taking a break.

– Be patient. Don’t expect immediate results from deep breathing. It may take some time and practice to notice the effects and to feel comfortable with the technique. Don’t judge yourself or give up if you find it difficult or challenging at first.

– Seek support. You can practice deep breathing with a friend, a family member, a therapist, or a group. You can also join online communities or forums where you can share your experiences and learn from others.

Slow down your breathing
Try breathing techniques 2x daily
Be patient