In this week's podcast we are responding to a question we received about where to find information on getting started with using breathing techniques to calm stress and anxiety:
"I am very interested in learning as much as possible about how breathing can help control and relieve stress & anxiety. Please advise on any resources I can use to learn more information."
A simple anxiety calming breathing practice
One of the easiest ways to use your breath to calm your mind is to gradually lengthen your outgoing breaths. Here’s how: first tune in to your “normal breath” don’t change anything yet, just notice how you are breathing right now. Is your breathing deep or shallow? Smooth or ragged?
Now pay attention to the length of your breaths and count the length of your exhalations. Again, don’t change anything yet, just notice and count 1, 2, 3, etc. If your regular exhalation is lasting for five counts try and draw it out to six for the next few breaths. Watch your breathing and help it smooth out a little as you continue counting to six on every out breath for the next few breaths.
Experiment and try increasing your count to seven for a few more breaths, and then eventually eight. But keep paying attention to your breathing and make sure you are comfortable, don’t strain beyond what feels easy and natural. If you can only comfortably extend to a count of six that’s fine. If you gradually extend to eight or nine, that’s fine too. Then main things is that your exhalation is longer than your inhalation and that it has your full attention.
After a few minutes try adding a pause of two or three counts at the end of each outgoing breath where you sit completely still and quiet before you draw your next breath in. Continue for a few minutes 10 minutes for the complete exercise is ideal, if you can do this morning and night you will soon be feeling the benefits.
Listen to the podcast Getting started with breathing techniques to calm anxiety here:
Resources for Breathing Techniques for Anxiety Relief:
- 3 Anxiety Breathing Techniques You Can Practice Anywhere
- Help with Breathing Techniques: I Can't Slow My Breathing Down
- How Yoga Breathing Exercises Can Help You Control Anxiety
- The Measured Breath: Anxiety Relief Breathing Technique
- Anxiety Exercise: The Seven Eleven Breathing Technique
- Breathing Your Way to a Calmer Place
- How Mastering Your Breath Can Help You Calm Anxiety
- The Awareness Breath: a breathing exercise for peace of mind
We have created our own collection of guided breathing techniques to help you learn to use your breath to calm your mind.
Breathe: Anxiety Relief Breathing Exercises includes for guided breathing techniques where Shann talks you step-by-step through each exercise so you can follow along easily and starting feeling the calming effects fo working with your breath quickly.
Belly Breathing - for reducing anxiety
The Awareness Breath - for quieting the mind
The Measured Breath - for easing anxious thoughts
The Bumblee Bee Breath - for calming anxiety
Every exercise calls attention to the power of your breath and shows you step-by-step how to relieve anxious thinking and calm your mind.