deep breathing exercises

7 Effective deep breathing exercises

I don’t know why I never thought about writing on deep breathing exercises. It is quite obvious that proper breathing not only fuels the body with oxygen but can also clear a foggy mind and help purify the body. Despite the fact the breathing is the most basic function of living beings, we hardly indulge in deep breathing exercises so out bodies can get its much needed oxygen supply.

While I was working full time, I used to get this constant advice of starting a routine and incorporating deep breathing as part of that routine but I never followed it. I did try but it was boring and I thought, it is better to just take a walk.  I was not very motivated to walk also ( surprise, surprise) so my entire exercise routine was usually about watching television or endlessly working.

Eventually when I started to focus on my health by walking every single day. Walking did help regulate  hormonal changes and sleeping better but there were days when I used to feel tired and skipped the walk. Skipping walks again started  resulting in sleepless nights and restlessness.

Finally, the sleepless night and restlessness forced me to start a breathing routine. Honestly, it is so incredibly effective that I regret not starting deep breathing exercises earlier!

7 Effective deep breathing exercises for anxiety

The next time you’re feeling restless, anxious, messed up and could use a clear head, enclosed are a variety of deep breathing exercises for anxiety that you could add to your routine. If you are new to this whole breathing routine, it could get boring so add a bit of background music to get motivation.

Pranayama (Alternate-Nostril Breathing)

Pranayama is alternate-nostril breathing, involves blocking off one nostril at a time as you breathe through the other, alternating between nostrils in a regular pattern. Pranayama is best to practice when seated properly in order to maintain your posture.

Seating posture – position your right hand by bending your pointer and middle fingers into your palm, leaving your thumb, ring finger, and pinky finger extended. Keep your eyes closed, it will help to concentrate better.

  • Inhale and exhale to begin.
  • Close off your right nostril with your thumb.
  • Inhale through your left nostril.
  • Close off your left nostril with your ring finger.
  • Open and exhale through your right nostril.
  • Inhale through your right nostril.
  • Close off your right nostril with your thumb.
  • Open and exhale through your left nostril.
  • Inhale through your left nostril.

Try to get to 10 rounds of this breathing pattern. If you begin to feel lightheaded, take a break. Release both nostrils and breathe normally.

This is by far one of the best deep breathing exercises and is quite effective in dealing with stress and anxiety. Experts suggest that doing Pranayama daily could help you increase immunity and fight against diseases.

deep breathing exercises
Deep Breathing Exercises

Diaphragmatic breathing

Experts suggest that 20 to 30 minutes of Diaphragmatic breathing each day helps reduce anxiety and stress. I recommend finding a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down.

  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your belly, below the ribcage.
  • Allow your belly to relax, without forcing it inward by squeezing or clenching your muscles.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose. The air should move into your nose and downward so that you feel your stomach rise with your other hand and fall inward (toward your spine).
  • Exhale slowly through slightly pursed lips. Take note of the hand on your chest, which should remain relatively still.

Although the sequence frequency will vary according to your health, most people begin by doing the exercise three times and working up to five to 10 minutes, one to four times a day.

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Box Breathing or square breathing

Box breathing is very simple to learn and practice. It is one of the simplest deep breathing exercises. It is simple inhaling and exhaling in pace. It can heighten performance and concentration while also being a powerful stress reliever. It goes like this:

  • Exhale to a count of four
  • Hold your lungs empty for a four count.
  • Inhale to a count of four.
  • Hold air in your lungs for a count of four.
  • Exhale and begin the pattern anew.

4-7-8 Breathing

The 4-7-8 deep breathing exercise is also called the relaxing breath. It is perfect for someone who needs to relax or sleep. It acts as a natural sedative for the brain.

  • Place and keep the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth for the duration of the exercise.
  • Completely exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

Ānāpānasati (Mindful Breathing)

Ānāpānasati or Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your breathing and bringing your attention to the present without allowing your mind to drift off. This types of deep breathing exercises helps your mind relax and stay calm.

To perform this routine, simply choose a focus. Sounds like “Om”, positive word “peace”, “Patience” are great. Simply repeat silently as you inhale or exhale.

Let go and relax. When you notice your mind has drifted, take a deep breath and gently return.

Resonance frequency breathing

Resonance frequency breathing has a regulating effect on the autonomic nervous system and other key body systems such as the circulatory system. It can help reduce anxiety and stress

  • Lie down with your eyes closed
  • Gently breathe in through your nose, mouth closed, for a count of five seconds. Don’t fill your lungs too full of air.
  • Exhale for five seconds, allowing your breath to leave your body slowly and gently without forcing it.
  • Continue for up to 10 minutes.
  • Take a few additional minutes to be still and focus on how your body feels.

Simple deep breathing exercises

Simple deep breathing exercise can be performed as needed. They can be done standing up, sitting down, or even lying down. If you find this exercise difficult or believe it’s making you anxious or panicky, stop for now. Try it again in a day or so and build up the time gradually.

  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale.
  • Repeat this breathing exercise. Do it for several minutes until you start to feel better.10

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Tips for effective deep breathing routine

  • Deep breathing exercises are always great on an empty stomach. Most experts suggest morning is a good time. For someone as lazy as me, I always suggest doing them when you have time. I need some alone time and I do them before I sleep so that I could keep put my brain to rest.
  • Choose a routine that works for you. I have tried all of the above but I prefer simple inhale and exhale. You should choose something that will work for you. Something you could stick too.
  • Persistence is the key. Our lungs need constant love so please follow the routine and complete it every day.
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deep breathing exercises for anxiety
Deep Breathing Exercises

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10 thoughts on “7 Effective deep breathing exercises

  1. This is what my mom has been telling me — Practice breathing properly! Thank you for sharing. This is really helpful. I did not realize there are many types of breathing. Will definitely practice it. Bookmarking your post for future reference.

  2. Woah!! I never knew that there were so many different types of breathing exercises. I’ll have to try some of these this week as I may not get to walk every day as I’d like to.

  3. Thank you for sharing these breathing techniques, will save them and try to practice. A strong pair of lungs is key to good health.

  4. Wow, what an informative post! Before reading this, I only knew of one way to do a deep breath. Thank you for sharing the several different techniques. I definitely learned something new today!

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