Mindful Breathing to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

What is the fastest way to calm your nerves, in both the literal and metaphorical sense?

Breathing.

By focusing on and appreciating each breath, we can alleviate our own anxiety and stress.

There is a pattern which one should consider when they are looking to reap the benefits that mindful breathing has to offer.

The method I have provided here could be one of the most effective breathing techniques you come across.

I have utilized and tweaked various recommended ways to enhance my own breath over the last couple of years. The greatest method I have stumbled upon is the one I am sharing here today, as I have noticed it to have the greatest impact during high-stress situations.

 

It helps quite a bit when your anxiety is high, or if you’re in a shit mood. You can do it in public and nobody will notice, I promise.

Here’s how it goes:

Inhale slowly through your nose, counting 4 seconds, allowing your belly to expand outwards. (If you feel it difficult to expand your belly with your breathe, do it in small expansions. With practice, you will notice that you are able to hold much more oxygen and breathe more deeply than before.)

Whatever you do, try not to breathe into your chest, as this only creates more tension and stress in your body, heightening our cortisol levels and leaving the bottom portion of the lungs without oxygen.

An article published by Harvard Health Publishing explains that diaphragmatic breathing (breathing into your belly) immediately elicits a “relaxation response.”

You can read more about that here.

Hold your breath for 3 seconds.

Exhale slowly, and with resistance, through your mouth (or nose, whatever feels best to you) for 6 seconds. This time, let your belly tighten.

Repeat 3 times.

In focusing on your breath, you can turn this into a meditative practice. Practice often and this will become natural to you.

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