Deep breathing techniques bust stress by counteracting your fight or flight response. It summons your parasympathetic nervous system, also known as your rest-and-digest system, and helps stimulate relaxation to return everything to equilibrium. You take in more oxygen, your heart rate slows, and your mind starts to slow down. It will also lower your blood pressure and help you to calm down.
- 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. People may find it helps manage anxiety. This breathing pattern aims to reduce anxiety or help people get to sleep. It is a form of pranayama, which is the practice of breath regulation.
The more you do 4-7-8 breathing, the better at it you’ll become, and the more your body will begin to incorporate it into your stress response. Some doctors suggests doing three cycles of this breathing technique twice a day.
The diaphragm is the dome-shaped muscle used in respiration, located right below the lungs. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing, strengthens this muscle, and this deep breathing technique fills the entire lungs with air.
- Bring one hand to the belly and place the other hand on the chest
- Take 3-5 seconds to inhale through the nose, feeling the belly rise as you breathe in. The hand on the chest should not move
- Exhale through the nose for 3-5 seconds, feeling the belly lower back to its original position
- Continue this breathing exercise for 5 minutes a day
3. Box Breathing
Box breathing, also known as square breathing, is a simple breathing exercise that involves inhalation, exhalation, and breath retention. The Navy Seals use this technique to reduce stress and anxiety during combat.
- Inhale through the nose, expanding the belly to a count of 4
- At the top of the inhale, hold the breath for a count of 4
- Release the breath, exhaling through the nose for a count of 4
- At the bottom of the exhale, hold the breath to a count of 4
- Repeat for 5-10 cycles