2020 was a year none of us saw coming and many of the uncertainties have crept on into 2021. During these uncertain times where life is far from how we knew it, brunches and hugs seem like a lifetime ago, anxiety really can take hold.
In the UK, general anxiety disorder (GAD) is estimated to affect around 5% of the UK population. This number is likely higher, as many people go without treatment. While it is a mental health condition affecting both genders, it is more common in women aged between 35-59.
Google searches for anxiety have also risen in the past year, with more people struggling with anxiety as a knock on effect of the pandemic.
If you are suffering from anxiety, you will likely be looking into remedies to help you cope.
Breathing exercises for anxiety relief – can it actually work?
Your breath is a powerful tool. When you are anxious you will notice that your breath goes short and shallow. You might even notice your chest gets a little tight.
This type of short and shallow breathing can cause an imbalance in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood, causing lightheadedness.
We spend a surprising amount of our day in this state of short and shallow breath. When you are slumped over a desk, a steering wheel or curled up on the sofa there isn’t much space for the breath – how are you breathing now?
Breathing exercises can help you to relax during periods of anxiety or panic. Deep breathing and breathing for anxiety techniques can actually be a powerful tool.
How do you breathe for anxiety relief?
There are a surprising number of ways to breathe. I went to a 2 hour breathing workshop with a local yoga instructor and it was an intense and insightful lesson into breath work.
I learned how the breath can help you to find a sense of calm (I even had a nap) as well as give you energy and confidence when you are feeling a little flat.
Breathing exercises for anxiety relief techniques
- Inhale through your nose for a count of 4
- Hold your breath and mentally count to 7
- Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8
Do this 3 times and you should begin to feel more relaxed
Count and elongate your breaths
When you are in a state of anxiety or panic you need to try to elongate the breath. Start slowly, breath in for 1 counts and out for 2 counts. Then try 2 in, 3 out, then 3 out for 4 and so on. Try to elongate the breath over a few minutes.
The 7/11 breath is where you inhale for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 11. Now, for some, this might be too much. You might want to start off with in for 4, out for 8 and gradually increase. See how it feels for you.
How do you feel after deep breathing?
When you take time to perform some deep breathing, you will increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and fire up your parasympathetic nervous system. Both of this will increase a sense of calm.
Connecting to the breath can also help you to feel grounded and take your mind away from anxieties and things that have been worrying you. This can be very useful when you are trying to go to sleep with a racing mind.
Breathing exercises for anxiety – A summary
Breathing for anxiety can be a powerful tool to have in your pocket. When you feel a heart fluttering bout of nerves, panic, dread or stress, calm yourself with a few simple breathing exercises.
I also find them particularly useful when my brain feels like I have 82 tabs open.
You can do these anywhere. At the office, in the car, while you wait for an interview, when you are trying to sleep but can’t find a sense of calm.
Take a moment. Take a breath.
Lots of Love,
Our Remedy xxx