Five breathing techniques for anxiety

In times of stress and anxiety we need to call on our support systems. The one support system that is free to everyone on the planet right now is breath. Breath is something we can all rely on and it has the power to change how we feel. The more you engage in these techniques, […]

Five breathing techniques for anxiety

By Susie Bennett

In times of stress and anxiety we need to call on our support systems. The one support system that is free to everyone on the planet right now is breath. Breath is something we can all rely on and it has the power to change how we feel. The more you engage in these techniques, the easier it becomes to disconnect you from the fight or flight adrenaline response that often accompanies undue pressure. 

Controlled breathing is known to cause positive psychological changes and an increased sense of calm and wellbeing. Other benefits include lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduced stress hormones in the blood, better immune system functioning and increased physical energy. 

It is often useful to have a teacher to talk you through specific techniques. The following resources are freely available and will guide you to a more relaxed and peaceful inner state. Here are some of the best breathing techniques and meditations on YouTube…

An introduction to breathing techniques

A great introduction on the benefits of breathing, and three breathing techniques to calm you down right now come from healthy lifestyle blogger Meghan Livingstone. Here she teaches Pursed Lip Breathing/Resistance Breathing, Equal Breathing and Alternate Nostril Breathing. If you need to get right to it, skip to 3.19.

Meditation for anxiety

If you’re new to wellbeing practices, Adriene Mishler is a great first port of call. You will find an abundance of free meditation and yoga videos via her You Tube channel. Here is a brief meditation to quell your anxiety, practice your breath and guide yourself to a place that feels more supported.

Morning meditation

If you want to combine your meditation practice with a connection to your body, Rodney Yee’s morning meditation integrates very light seated yoga practices into this session and will leave you feeling grounded. 

Meditation music

If you’d prefer to use music to background your breathing practice Marconi Union have created a ten hour track called Weightless in collaboration with sound therapists. In research conducted by a neuromarketing company, this track was said to have a 65% reduction in anxiety in listeners. Get comfortable, close your eyes and focus on the in and out flow of your breath. It may help to combine one of the other practices in this list of videos for example breathing in to the count of four, and out to the count of four. 

Simple breathing technique for anxiety

This breathing technique aims to combat anxiety by switching up the equal inhale and exhale breathing practice. In this combination of breath you will breath in for four sections and out for eight. You can adapt the timings of the practice to suit your comfort level. 

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