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Breathing Exercises To Keep You Calm

Breathing Exercises To Keep You Calm

Life can get busy, and finding the time to unwind seems difficult amongst all the expectations and deadlines. Not everyone can take a few days off or hit the gym every day to unwind. However, there are ways to calm your mind and give yourself a quick break, so you can recharge and tackle the rest of the day. 

Breathing exercises are an effective way to keep yourself calm and reduce stress. They can be done anytime, anywhere.

Start by doing them for a few minutes at a time. You can gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice. 

What Is Diaphragmatic Breathing?

Diaphragmatic breathing is breathing deeply into your diaphragm rather than shallow breaths into your chest. It’s sometimes called belly breathing or deep breathing. This technique focuses on using the diaphragm muscles to inhale and exhale. 

To practise diaphragmatic breathing, follow these steps:

  1. Sit or lie down on your back. Make sure you’re comfortable. 
  2. Lay one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  3. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Your stomach will rise as your lungs fill with air.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Your stomach will fall as your lungs empty.
  5. Repeat for several minutes, focusing on the movement of your stomach and diaphragm.

Diaphragmatic breathing can help to slow down your breathing rate, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve overall relaxation.

Does 4-7-8 Breathing Help?

4-7-8 breathing, also known as “relaxing breath” or “the soothing breath,” is a breathing technique that helps promote relaxation and reduce stress. The method involves:

  • Inhaling for a count of 4.
  • Holding your breath for a count of 7.
  • Exhaling for a count of 8.

Some of the potential benefits of 4-7-8 breathing include:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety: 4-7-8 breathing can help activate the body’s relaxation response, which can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Improving sleep: The relaxing effect of 4-7-8 breathing can help enhance sleep quality, helping people fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.
  • Lowering blood pressure: 4-7-8 breathing has been shown to lower blood pressure in some people, which can benefit those with hypertension.
  • Enhancing focus and concentration: 4-7-8 breathing can help improve focus and concentration by slowing down the breath and calming the mind.

What Is Box Breathing?

Box breathing, also known as square breathing or tactical breathing, is a  controlled breathing technique often used in meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices. It’s also used in military and emergency services training. 

The technique involves inhaling, holding your breath, and exhaling, each for a count of four at a time. 

Box breathing can help control emotions by slowing  breathing down and creating calmness. It’s a helpful technique for those who experience anxiety. It can help improve respiratory function by increasing lung capacity, strengthening the diaphragm and reducing shortness of breath.

Box breathing can be used as a mental preparation tool for physical activities. It helps reduce anxiety, improves focus and manages stress, and enhances physical performance by increasing oxygenation and circulation.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This technique is used to balance the energy flow in the body. To practice this exercise:

  1. Sit comfortably with your left hand resting on your left knee.
  2. Close your right nostril with your thumb.  
  3. Inhale through your left nostril.
  4. Close your left nostril with your ring finger. 
  5. Exhale through your right nostril.
  6. Inhale through your right nostril.
  7. Close it with your thumb and exhale through your left nostril.
  8. Repeat this process for several minutes.

These breathing practices are usually combined with yoga and guided imagery practices. You can find free YouTube videos on both topics.

Guided Imagery And Yoga 

Guided imagery is a technique that involves using your imagination to visualise a peaceful scene or place, such as a beach or a forest. This can help to relax your mind and body and reduce stress and anxiety.

Yoga is a practice that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to improve overall physical and mental well-being. Yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve flexibility and strength, and promote relaxation.

It’s important to note that while breathing techniques may have some potential benefits, it’s not a substitute for professional medical care and should be used in conjunction with other treatments.

 

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