What Kind of Breathing is Best for Anxiety?
We all know that breathing techniques are good for relaxation, stress management and reducing anxiety. But what kind of breathing is best?
In my opinion, all breathing techniques can be helpful, but they all work differently with your mind and have different effects on your body, so building a tool box of various breathing techniques is best. Try different techniques and see which work best for you.
Here’s a sampling of great breathwork techniques to help you build up your anxiety reduction tool box:
1. Mindful Belly Breathing. Hands down the best breathing technique I know of for stress, anxiety and especially panic attacks is Mindful Belly Breathing. This research-based technique is backed by scientific evidence, plus years of my clinical experience. It actually calms the parasympathetic nervous system to calm both your body and your mind. Mindful Belly Breathing is a specific form of diaphragmatic breathing which also includes respiratory control.
CLICK HERE to go to my website to learn the technique – plus download my free guided audio meditation to practice mindful belly breathing daily. Once you train your body how to do it easily by practicing 15 minutes a day, then you can use Mindful Belly Breathing at any moment to immediately reduce anxiety or panic. Be sure to listen to the Instructions track before trying the guided meditation!
2. Alternate nostril breathing. This is a form of yogic breathing that can be very relaxing.
3. Soft Breathing by Dr. Mark Hyman, from his book, The UltraMind Solution. This one just takes a minute and it’s a great complement to Mindful Belly Breathing.
4. Core-activating breaths. Take a deep breath in and hold it at the top for just a moment. Then exhale with short quick breaths making a “sh, sh, sh, sh, sh” sound and squeezing your core abdominal muscles with each exhale. Continue until you’ve pushed out all the air. Repeat.
5. Emptying breaths. Take a deep breath in, filling your belly with air and count to three. Hold your breath at the top for a count of three. Then exhale for a count of 6 to 10 until you’ve pushed out all of the air.
6. Box Breathing. CLICK HERE to learn this relaxing technique which helps you distract your mind and fall into a calming, rhythmic breathing pattern.
7. Roof of the mouth breathing. Do this at bedtime to stimulate the vagus nerve. Doing this type of breathing right before bed helps your body relax more during sleep, reduce tension, and reduce grinding in the jaw. Close your eyes, suction your tongue to the roof of your mouth and breathe in and out through your nose for 5 minutes, without holding your breath and continuing to keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
8. Left nostril breathing. This ancient technique (adapted from Kundalini yoga) activates the Ida Nerve Ending in the left nostril, which relates to calmness and relaxation.