Would you believe that there are multiple ways of breathing? It’s not as simple as in, out, in and out again. Oh no. If you struggle with anxiety and stress, it could be because you are breathing ‘incorrectly’ and that is causing your heightened stress and anxiety symptoms, or making them worse. Here’s some tips on Yoga exercises that help your breathing.
What Is Breathing For My Mind?
Breathing is an innate behaviour that we pick up naturally. It’s something that we don’t need to learn and it’s the most important aspect to being alive because, well, let’s face it, if we aren’t breathing, we aren’t living. However, unlike our beating hearts, we can control our breathing. So it’s important that we learn to breathe correctly and in a way to help both our physical and mental health.
If you pay attention to your breathing now and then pay attention to it whilst you’re anxious or stressed, you are sure to notice a big difference. This isn’t because of any health problems and sometimes it is this thought that makes anxiety even worse. Your breathing changes during anxiety attacks and stressful moments because our breaths tend to become shallower. This puts us in a viscous, anxious circle that we get trapped in. To break that circle, the trick is to get your breathing back into a healthy and relaxed state.
How Can I Control My Breathing For My Mind?
One way to do this is to, if you can, lie down on a couch, floor or bed. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach, near where your diaphragm is. Take one deep breath through your nose and feel your stomach rise, not your chest. Then breathe out through your mouth, feeling your stomach go down. Do this around eight to ten times and you’ll feel your stress/anxiety start to fade. This breathing technique helps decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, relieving some symptoms of anxiety that can make the horrible feeling worse.
Another popular way of reducing stress and anxiety is through progressive relaxation. This works best when lying down or sitting up straight. Focus on your breathing, slowly and deeply. When you’re feeling a bit more relaxed, tense your toes as you breathe in, hold for five counts and as you exhale, release the tension in your toes. Do the same thing for other muscles in your body, going from your toes to your head. If you find yourself feeling lightheaded and dizzy, reduce the amount of counts you hold for until you are comfortable with the exercise.
If you need to wake yourself up, there is a breathing exercise called Nadi Shodhana, or alternative nostril breathing. Make sure you are comfortable, wherever you are as this can be done in any position. Hold your right thumb over your right nostril and inhale with your left nostril. When you feel like you’ve peaked, press your right ring finger down on your right nostril and exhale through your left one. Carry on doing this until you feel more alert and ready to face the day.
Why Is Breathing For The Mind (Yoga) Important?
It’s important that you get your breathing right as it is a huge factor in relaxation from stress, depression and anxiety. If you find that you are still struggling with your breath, yoga classes are great way to go as well as meditation. Yoga classes rely a lot on breath and a professional yoga instructor can help you correct your breathing as well as stretching out your core muscles.
Happy breathing, folks!