So many of us feel overwhelmed from time to time. Life is fast, hectic, constantly connected, and full of demands. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to find time to get grounded, but reconnecting with yourself is vital for health and wellbeing.
Fortunately TGH has a solution that requires no expensive equipment or fancy therapy. We have listed our favorite breathing techniques that will have you feeling calm and collected in no time. These are the best for melting stress and anxiety – allowing you to get on and enjoy your life.
This first one is not so much a breathing technique as a reminder for any times that you are feeling panicky – like you can’t catch your breath.
This is very common, and it’s scary if it happens to you. So if you ever feel like you can’t get a deep breath, the more you try the harder it gets and the more you panic – remember this…..
If you have filled your lungs with shallow, short, panic breaths, you won’t be able to take a deep lungful of air until you completely breathe out. And in a stressed out state it can be easy to forget this part.
So the first suggestion is to build up your breath awareness. While you are seated, with shoulders back and down exhale fully. This removes the carbon dioxide and increases the lung capacity for exhaling. So now, go ahead and breathe deeply and fully.
Simply being aware of this can be useful any time you feel yourself struggling to calm your breathing.
This second technique was devised by Andrew Weil, a Harvard doctor, specializing in holistic health, and as we can see from the quote below, he believes that breathing is a powerful way to influence our moods.
“Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation.”
His 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise is said to be one of the most relaxing and there are claims that it can put someone to sleep in just 60 seconds.
As the video shows, this is a very simple breathing technique, that can be done anywhere, anytime you need it. This is a powerful tool to have, to be able to invoke a relaxed state regardless of your surroundings.
Here is how to do it:
This is another very simple technique, which always leaves me with a huge grin on my face.
Sit upright, or stand star with your arms raised about your head in a Y shape, just like the lady in our main featured image. From here take 3 good breaths, inhaling and exhaling fully through your nose. Research suggests cortisol (the stress hormone) may be reduced after 2 minutes of breathing in this way.
This breathing technique is great to support your circulatory and lymphatic systems, and it wont feel like hard work at all.
Simply lie on your back (on a mat or towel), with your butt up against chair or some. Rest your calves on the seat of the chair and take at least 3 good breaths from here. This is great if you ever get that feeling of ‘heavy legs’ at the end of the day, as it promotes blood flow and lymphatic drainage. It gives your legs a break from gravity!
Also known as abdominal breathing…..this is a classic breathing technique and one of my personal favorites. It is well regarded as one of the best for calming the nervous system and reducing stress. Completing the following procedure for 10 minutes each day could help you to reduce your blood pressure and heart rate.
Equal breathing is also known as balanced breathing – and this is recommended for practice before sleeping as it is great for quieting the mind.
The next technique is recommended for when you wake up. It is ideal as it can help to reduce stiffness and also clear the sinuses, shaking off any morning grogginess.
Progressive breathing is fantastic for relaxing the entire body as well as mind.
This is a simple concentration technique which you can do to relax your mind and focus your mind. It can be a fantastic way to prepare for a day or for a task ahead of you.
Stimulated Breath is a technique that not only calms the nervous system, but also heightens awareness and boosts energy. Take a look at the video below which gives a great demonstration – it is clear to see why it is also known as the ‘bellows breath’.
Guided visualization can be very relaxing, and is as simple as putting in headphones wherever you are (although not while driving).
You can enlist the help of a therapist, or simply use a recording for this. It involves spoken descriptions and instructions which enable you to invoke pleasant images. Breathing should be slow and steady throughout, and may even be dictated by the guide.
This breathing technique is a great de-stressor for when you are feeling overwhelmed, with too much on your plate.
Alternate nostril breathing is well known as a ‘channel cleanser’ and is said to increase alertness in both lobes of our brain – helping to bring balance. It is thought that we don’t breathe equally through our nostrils at all times, favoring one or the other when we breathe normally.
This is another dynamic breathing technique, similar to the bellows breath. I recommend that you watch the following instructional video to demonstrate how to do this properly.
The main difference from bellows breathing is that the inhalation is relaxed, and the exhalation is forceful.
Let’s finish up with the complete breath technique, which focuses on using the whole lungs, filling our bodies with plenty of oxygen and relaxing the nervous system.
These 15 techniques are all great for relaxation, and also include some other great benefits. Which of these most appeals to you? You will naturally enjoy some more than others.
Do you have a breathing technique of your own? We would love to hear from you!
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