Breathless, anxious and overwhelmed. It’s our normal fight or flight response to stress and we’ve all been there.
You’re late for work, an assignment is overdue, you’ve had an argument with a friend or loved one, or you’re exhausted from endless doomscrolling. Sometimes you just want to hit the pause button on life. Shallow breathing can contribute to panic attacks or anxious moments.
There are a number of breathing exercises you can try to alleviate the symptoms of stress and start to feel better. Even if you’re short on time, just a few moments for breathing exercises throughout the day will have a big impact.
Here are five of our favourites!
A quick and simple technique to calm and relax on the go, in the office or at home. Start the 4-7-8 breathing method by sitting down with your back straight and the tip of your tongue on the back of your upper front teeth before following these steps:
- Breathe out through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
- Close your mouth and count to 4 while breathing in through your nose.
- Count to 7 while holding your breath.
- Count to 8 while breathing out through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
- Inhale, then repeat three times.
Simple, but effective. You can practice deep breathing anywhere whether you’re standing, sitting, or laying down.
To master deep breathing follow these steps:
- Relax your tummy.
- Place one hand just beneath your ribs.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, notice your hand rise.
- Breathe out through your mouth, notice your hand fall.
Though this technique is often recommend by doctors to patients with chronic lung conditions, a 2017 study found that it can also help to ease anxiety.
Start sitting up or laying down and follow these steps:
- Place one hand on your tummy and the other hand on your upper chest.
- Breathe in through your nose, focus on your tummy rising.
- Breathe out through pursed lips, focus on your tummy lowering.
- Repeat the cycle.
Mindfulness allows us to do something many of us struggle with - focus on the here and now. To practice mindful breathing, begin by sitting or laying in a comfortable position with your eyes open or closed then follow these steps:
- Inhale through your nose until your tummy expands.
- Slowly let the breath out through your mouth.
- Once settled into the pattern, focus on the breath coming in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Notice the way your tummy rises and falls as the breaths come in and out.
- As thoughts come into your head, which they inevitably will, notice that they are there without judgment, then let them go and bring your attention back to your breathing.
- Carry on until you experience a feeling of calm, notice how you start to become increasingly aware of how your body and mind feel.
Quieting response combines deep breathing and visualisation into a method that helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Begin by relaxing all the muscles in your face and shoulders, then imagine you have holes in the soles of your feet before following these steps:
- Take a deep breath, visualise the breath as hot air entering your body through the holes in the soles of your feet.
- Imagine the hot air flowing up your legs, through your tummy, and then filling your lungs.
- Relax each muscle as the hot air passes.
- Breathe out slowly, imagining the air passing from your lungs back into your tummy, then your legs, before leaving your body through the holes in the soles of your feet.
- Repeat until a sense of calm fills your body and mind.
Try out these breathing exercises and let us know how you get on. Remember, everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives. It’s a natural part of our body’s reaction to threats and danger. Breathing exercises are one of the best ways to deal with stress and most are simple and easy to try.
Why not level-up your breathing exercises wrapped up in the DORMU Snuggler knitted weighted blanket for maximum comfort! An irresistibly soft and breathable weighted blanket, the luxurious Snuggler is hand-knitted and provides maximum breathability thanks to its unique weave design.
If you find that you experience frequent or excessive bouts of anxiety, make sure to visit your doctor.