Deep Breathing Techniques to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Breathing exercises

Hi guys.

Last week I talked about how important it is to monitor your breathing and to get the right amount of oxygen into your body when you are feeling stressed and anxious or when the panic strikes.

It is not pleasant to feel like ‘fish out of water’. Nor it is healthy for your mental health or your everyday functioning. Stress and anxiety can cause unwanted disruptions to your life if you let it.

Ways to help with stress and anxiety

Depending on the level of stress and anxiety you experience, there are different ways to help. If you find yourself feeling more and more restricted by these, it is always good to seek help. Your first stop could be your GP. You may want to make an appointment to see your doctor and explain what is going on for you. Your GP will be able to refer you to psychological therapies such as counselling or other therapies and to prescribe you some medications to help you cope with your symptoms better. I understand that there is still a lot of stigma about anti-depressants and therapy. I worked with clients who preferred to have therapy without taking anti-depressant medications. Some of them chose not to tell their families or friends that they were having therapy as they would meet with judgement and disagreement.

From my personal and professional experience, taking on both brings the most results and progress. This is my experience and I would not like to force it on anyone. You have the right to decide what works best for you.

Deep breathing exercises

Deep breathing techniques can be very useful when suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety. Your symptoms can vary from mild and moderate to severe, in-between or over. When you are feeling stressed and start to feel anxious, your breathing becomes shorter, your heart beats faster, you may experience dizziness or feel sick and your muscles tense up. Controlling your breathing and bringing it back to ‘normal’ will help you regain control and reduce your anxiety and stress.

Deep breathing helps you calm down, slows down your heart rate, reduces blood pressure, relaxes your muscles and reduces tension which in turn clears your mind.

I would like to share some of my favourite deep breathing techniques with you.  I find them very useful and calming. I hope you will too. You can play around with these and change the number of seconds you take to inhale and exhale according to your own needs. Don’t be afraid to personalise them a little bit. Whatever works best for you.

You can do breathing exercises anywhere – in the office, in a park, on the bus or at home.

Preferably, sit yourself down or use a position that is most comfortable for you in that moment.

Deep Breathing Techniques

1. Breathing exercise 1: Pursed lip breathing

  1. Inhale through your nose for 4-5 seconds
  2. Exhale very slowly through pursed lips for at least 5 seconds
  3. Repeat 5-10 times, at least

2. Breathing exercise 2: Equal breathing

  1. Inhale through your nose for 5 seconds
  2. Exhale through your nose for 5-8 seconds
  3. Repeat 5-10 times, at least

3. Breathing exercise 3: Box breathing

  1. Inhale through your nose/mouth for 4 seconds
  2. Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  3. Exhale through your nose/mouth for 4 seconds
  4. Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  5. Repeat 5-10 times, at least

These simple breathing techniques can be highly effective in relieving stress and anxiety symptoms. Try to incorporate them into your daily routine. You can employ them on the spot when your stress and anxiety starts to rise. It will help you calm down and relax.

Next time, I will be writing about the power of journaling and its benefits for our mental health.

In the meantime, if you feel you need to talk to someone, in-person or online counselling can help. I offer a safe and non-judgemental space where you can talk in confidence. Get in touch with me via my enquiry form to find out how counselling can help you.

You can also get in touch with me directly via enquiries@simplytalkcounselling.co.uk, Facebook or Instagram.

Deep Breathing Techniques to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

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