Breathing Exercises For Anxiety
In this article you will learn two simple breathing exercises for anxiety that you can do whenever you are feeling anxious or stressed, or simply want a wave of good feelings wash over your mind and body. We will also talk about how and why these techniques work.
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Shallow breath : Breathing only through your chest instead of the stomach
- Faster heart beat
- Faster breathing: Hyperventilation
- Emotional instability
- Potential loss of clear thoughts and actions
- Trembling or muscle twitching
Causes of anxiety
Anxiety can be triggered by external events just as much as our own thoughts. Although outside circumstances and “money concerns” won’t go away only with breathing exercises, you can learn to control your own emotions and reactions to stressful situations. With practice, you can train yourself to transform the feeling of stress into a feeling of confidence and make decisions from a calm perspective.
If anxiety and stress are related to a medical condition, or a drug side effect, these breathing exercises for anxiety will also help you tremendously.
Breathing Exercises For Anxiety
I) Long Extended Exhales
This technique is very simple yet very powerful. It will slow down your heart beat and as a result all other systems in your body. It will help you stay focused and in control of your inner state. It can be quite challenging if your emotions are getting out of hand, but try your very best to extend your exhales.
You can also do it before an important meeting or event. It will also help with digestion, you can do this before and after a meal.
How to do Long Extended Exhales For Anxiety:
- Sit in a comfortable place.
- Take a quick inhalation through your nose or mouth.
- Purse your lips and gently breathe the air out of your mouth very slowly as though you are breathing out through a straw. Do not tense your muscles while doing this – be as relaxed as possible.
- Imagine as the air is flowing out that a wave of relaxation is flowing down your body from top to bottom.
- Repeat the process several times for around 5 – 10 minutes a day. The longer the duration the deeper the effect at lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.
- You can also hold your breath for a few seconds before repeating the next round, gradually increasing the breathold time each time you repeat for an even deeper effect
II) Exhale twice as long as the inhale
When you breathe in beats your heart is in its optimum state, also known as Heart Coherence. Learn more about it here. When you breathe twice as long as you inhale, you are breathing in balance while stimulating the parasympathetic system, which is meant to relax you.
How to do this method:
- Sit in a comfortable place.
- Place one hand on the belly and the other on the chest
- Make sure you’re inhaling from the stomach, so the hand in the belly will rise first
- Breath in from the nose, smooth and fully relaxed, while you count 1, 2
- Exhale through the mouth, fully relaxed without pushing, while you count 1, 2, 3, 4
- Without breaks, keep repeating the process
- The counts can vary in speed and in the amount of times, as long as the exhales are twice as long as the inhales
- You can also do it walking. Inhale during 2 steps and exhale during the next 4 steps.
Through these breathing exercises for anxiety you can transform the current emotion by triggering a different feeling. A feeling of confidence for example. They will help you get used to paying attention to your breath and heart beat as you influence it to get to the state you want.
If you would like to experience a live training on these, and other amazing breathing techniques I recommend you sing up for our SOMA Awakening Meditation. Click Here for the next FREE session.
Influencing your Heart Beat
During a stressful situation you might not think of checking your heart beat, however it can be very important to sync in with your own heart. You can use your wrist or a pulse oximeter. The more you get used to feeling your pulse, the more natural it will be the moment that you really need it.
Inhales accelerate the heart
When you breathe in, the Sympathetic System gets activated and your heart beats faster. It stimulates adrenaline and wakes you up (among other things). Try this:
- While checking your pulse, starting from the stomach, do a long, smooth inhale
- when you don’t have any more space in your lungs, hold it for some time.
- You might notice your heart beat accelerating a bit. Sure it goes back to the previous speed right away, but for an instant, you can tell that the heart accelerates a few beats on your command.
- Do it a few times until you actually experience it.
Exhales slow down the heart
When you breathe OUT the Parasympathetic System comes into play so your heart slows down. It’s a system that chills you out. When you monitor your pulse as you’re practicing the Long Extended Exhales, you’ll notice that over time your pulse will slow down.
The balance between the inhales and exhales will create a coherence and harmony in your body. As long as ALL the inhales are always the same length and all the exhales are also always the same length, your heart will be in coherence. Learn more about Heart Coherence Here.
Heart Coherence is the key, or the entrance, to the process of reaching your full potential. SOMA Awakening Meditations will show you a few steps to reach this state. You’ll feel incredible effects the first time you try it. Check it out our next free session.
Can the heart be in Coherence when it beats really fast?
YES. Fast heart beats are normal. However, you can direct it towards coherence by breathing in beats. Remember to exhale twice as long as you inhale. After a while you will FEEL coherence and be able to recognize the feeling in your body. It does take a bit of training, so practice it now that you are thinking of it.
Put up little notes on your mirror or something to remind you of monitoring your heart beat and to get used to the breathing exercises for anxiety. When the time comes, you will be used to them and will access them faster.
Make sure you are taking in the air through the stomach first. Imagine the air entering the root of your body going all the way up to your brain and for the exhales simply open your mouth and let the air come out on its own.
Is there a preferred heart speed?
YES. When your heart beats between 50 and 60 times per minute, it has been found by science to be the optimal heart state. In the SOMA Awakening Meditation we actually use music to make the process easier and more fun.
SOMA Breath is fast becoming the cutting edge of breath work technology and training.
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Orlando – SOMA instructor