Health & Medical Lung Health

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

    Standing Exercise

    • Stand with feet shoulder width apart, your back straight and your body comfortable. As you slowly draw a breath into your abdomen, raise your arms up and out at the sides of your body until they are raised above your head. Hold the breath for a few seconds and then lower your arms slowly as you exhale all the air from your lungs. Continue repeating this process for as long as you want and until you feel calm.

    Abdomingal Muscle Breathing

    • This exercise uses your abdominal muscles to help train your body to take deeper breaths. It is even more relaxing because you do it while lying comfortably on the floor. Use your abdominal muscles to expand your stomach so that it is distended like a balloon. Hold this position for a few seconds. Then use the same muscles to suck in the muscles as far as they will go. Once again, hold this position for a few seconds. Practice this repetition until your body seems to naturally rock from the motions. Then you can coordinate your breathing to the muscle movements. Inhale through your nose as you push your stomach out and then exhale through your mouth as you suck your stomach back in. On the exhale, imagine that you are forcing the air out through your body, all the way to your fingertips and toes. This exercise and visualization nourishes the muscles with oxygen, making them more relaxed.

    Nostril Breathing

    • Nostril breathing is a very common yoga practice that involves alternating the nostril that you breathe through. It is said to improve function of both sides of the brain, allowing the person to feel balanced. This breathing technique is also very therapeutic for the nervous system and calming the body and mind. You can do this exercise in a sitting position. Put your right hand up to your face, with your pointer and middle finger tucked in, your thumb on the right side of your nose and the pinkie and ring finger on the left side. Close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe in through the left nostril for four seconds. Then release the thumb and close the left nostril with the ring and pinkie finger, exhaling for eight seconds. Then inhale through the right nostril for four seconds and then cover the right with your thumb and exhale through the left for eight seconds. You can do this exercise for as long as it feels comfortable.

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