The pandemic had disrupted everyone’s life. Quarantine, Social distancing, and constant negative vibes news had severely affected anyone’s mental health. I also experienced the loss of close relatives, which completely shook me.
One day I was scrolling through social media, where I came across an article about ”breathing exercises to reduce stress”. I found it intriguing and decided to start.
I started with simple deep breathing exercise.
“closing eyes, taking deep breath, filling lungs with air and then exhale slowly through my mouth”.
I continued to practice this deep breathing exercises to reduce stress everyday just for few minutes in the morning and evening.
As few weeks passed I noticed changes in my stress level. The constant worry and anxiety began to subside. I found peace in myself, even in the most challenging times (pandemic).
As the pandemic continued to unfold, I realized that stress and breathing exercises are co-related and should be the part of our daily life.
The pandemic had forced me to adapt and find new ways to take care of my well-being by power of breathing exercises.
Breathing exercises not only helped me in stress reduction but also provided me with sense of inner peace, greater emotional resilience and a valuable tool for managing the ups and downs of life.
So incorporating breathing exercises to reduce stress into your daily routine can be of significant importance for your overall well-being and quality of life.
Whether you practiced in the morning, during breaks or before bedtime, breathing exercise offer a valuable tool for managing stress and promoting a calmer life. First we see
What are breathing exercises?
Breathing exercises are those methods where we consciously adjust ‘How to breathe’ to achieve specific outcome for your body, mind or emotions.
These exercises often focus on modifying depth, speed or rhythm of your breath. Different breathing exercises gives you different outcome from stress reduction to overall well-being. There might be question arises in your mind Does breathing reduce stress
The answer is Yes, Deep breathing can significantly reduce stress.
During Deep breathing body activate the relaxation response which is opposite of stress response. Deep breathing reduces the level of stress hormones (cortisol) in the body. You might be wondering
What are benefits of Deep breathing?
Deep breathing allows more efficiently oxygen exchange in lungs which help in more energy to do work.
During deep breathing concentrating on deep breath helps us to calm our mind which eventually helps us to reduce feeling of overwhelm.
Deep breathing also helps us to lower blood pressure which generally elevated during stress.
How to perform Deep breathing exercises to reduce stress ?
- Quiet place: Choose a quiet place where you can sit or lie down on your back with your arms at your sides.
- Close Eyes: Closing eyes will enhanced your inward focusing.
- Hands Position: Place one hand on your chest and another on your abdomen to feel the movement of the breath.
- Inhale: Inhale should be deep and slow through your nose. As you inhale your abdomen should rise while your chest remain still.
- Exhale: Exhale should be done slowly through the mouth. Imagine while exhaling you are releasing your tension (stress).
- Breath Pattern: You can follow breath pattern to regulate your breath. Inhale for count of (say) 3 seconds, hold the breath for count of 3 seconds and exhale on the count of 3 seconds. You can adjust the seconds according to you.
- Cycles: Repeat this deep breathing pattern for several breath cycles for five (5) to ten (10) minutes.
- Focus on your breath: Pay attention on the rise and fall of your abdomen. If your mind getting distracted, bring your focus back to your breath.
- Consistency: Make Deep breathing your daily routine. For better result do them in the morning and during breaks at work.
Some other breathing exercises to reduce stress.
Along with deep breathing exercise some other best stress relief breathing exercises are as follows:
Deep belly breathing
- Deep belly breathing is called so because it involves taking deep breath that originate from the diaphragm.
The term ‘Belly’ refers to area where you should feel the most movement during breathing.
How to Perform:
- Sit or lie down
- Place one hand on the chest and other on the abdomen.
- Inhale slowly through nose, allowing your abdomen to rise.
- Exhale slowly through mouth allowing your abdomen to fall.
- Focus on rise and fall of your abdomen, making sure your chest remain still.
- Continue this pattern for several breath, striving to inhale and exhale for a duration of approximate 4 second each.
The term 4-7-8 breathing refers to specific breathing technique that involves inhaling for a count of 4 seconds, holding breath for a count of 7 seconds and exhaling for a count of 8 seconds.
This breathing pattern is designed to promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety.
How to Perform:
- Sit with your back straight.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose for a count of 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 8 seconds
- Repeat this cycle for 3-4 times.
- Box breathing also known as square breathing. This breathing technique involves a four step-process, each step consists of count of 4.
Here is how it works
- Inhale for a count of 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for a count of 4 seconds.
- Exhale for a count of 4 seconds.
- Pause for a count of 4 seconds before starting the next cycle.
Box breathing is often used as a relaxation and stress reduction technique. It can help to calm the mind, reduce anxiety and promote sense of focus and balance.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
- Nadi Shodhana is a yoga breathing technique (Pranayama) which involves the regulation and control of breath for various physical, mental and spiritual benefits.
There are some other Pranayama (Yoga breathing technique) has different uses and benefits.
Some of them are Ujjayi Breath, Kapalbhati, Bhramari, Sitali pranayama, Bhastrika, Anulom vilom, sheetali pranayama, Dirgha pranayama and many more
Which Pranayama is best for depression?
Nadi Shodhana helps balance the energy channels in the body and calm the mind. It can reduce stress and anxiety which are often associated with depression.
Nadi Shodhana has several benefits.
- Calm the nervous system
- Enhance focus and concentration
- Improve respiratory function and lung capacity.
- Clear nasal passages and alleviate congestion.
Note down the steps to perform Nadi Shodhana Pranayama:
- Sit with your back straight.
- Use right thumb to close off right nostril and inhale through left nostril.
- Use right ring finger to close left nostril and exhale through right nostril.
- Inhale through right nostril.
- Close your right nostril again and exhale through left nostril.
- This completes one cycle. Do it for few minutes
- Mindfulness breathing exercises are valuable practices for several reasons and its benefits extend to both physical and mental well-being. Here states few:
Stress reduction, Anxiety management, Improved focus and concentration, Improved sleep, Coping with pain etc.
Follow these simple steps To perform Mindful breathing
- Find quiet place to sit or lie down.
- Close your eyes and simply pay attention on your breath.
- Focus on the breath entering and leaving your nostrils.
- Practice this for few minutes and gradually increases the time.
These easy breathing exercises for stress can be practiced virtually anywhere and are effective in quickly reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
Incorporate these exercise into your daily routine or use them as needed when you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Individuals who are interested in holistic or alternative approaches to managing anxiety or someone who is experiencing anxiety and exploring various methods for relief could ask the question
Can Pranayama cure anxiety
Pranayama though not a standalone cure for anxiety, can be a valuable complement to other anxiety management methods.
Pranayama plays supportive role in anxiety management by
- Reducing stress level which are often linked to anxiety.
- Calming the nervous system.
- Helping in control emotions and stabilize mood.
- Easing physical symptoms of anxiety such as muscle tension.
In our busy and stressful life, we often forgot to ask a simple question, how breathing affects the brain
The answer reveals that the way we breathe is closely connected to how we feel mentally and emotionally. This shows that practicing mindful breathing can significantly improve our overall well- being.
In our fast-paced life, some best stress relief breathing exercises give us a chance to relax and take care of ourselves.
Instead of dedicating an additional hour to breathing exercises, these practices can be integrated into shorter intervals throughout the day.
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