Breathing exercises and techniques are a great way of reducing anxiety and stress. It allows you to focus your attention on your breath, stay in the moment and process your thoughts one at a time. This leads to you finding mental clarity and a calmness within the chaos. One such technique is belly breathing.
It involves taking deep breaths focused at strengthening your diaphragm or belly. With each deep breath you take, you feel your stomach rise and contract, rather than your chest as you focus on your belly as you breathe. Belly breathing is effective in reducing anxiety.
How to practice belly breathing
1. Sit comfortably. Sit on a chair or your bed, whenever you are comfortable. Ensure your back is straight and spine is upright.
2. Position your hands. Start by placing your left hand on your chest and the right hand on your stomach, near the belly button. The aim of belly breathing is to take deep breaths so that you end up breathing via your stomach and your chest stays still. When you complete a belly breath, it’ll be your stomach that expands and contracts, and you will be able to feel it with your hand. With belly breathing, you need to take even deeper breaths than normal.
3. Start breathing. Slow start by taking a deep breath. And breathe out. Try to notice the sensations in your stomach and if you felt the up and down movement in your belly. Continue by doing 3 counts of deep belly breathing before taking a small pause. Then, continue this breathing pattern for as long as you can. When you get comfortable, try making the breathing even deeper. As a guiding point, try to breathe in for 4 counts and breathe out for 4 counts, and repeat.
Belly breathing and anxiety
It helps reduce anxiety. The reason why belly breathing is effective in reducing anxiety is because of its ability to slow down your breathing and calm you down. When you’re anxious and thoughts overwhelm you, it’s ideal to slow down your mind and calm down. Belly breathing helps you achieve that and strengthens your diaphragm.
It brings relaxation. Belly breathing helps normalize and reduce your overall breathing rate and slows down heartbeat. Taking deep breaths has a relaxing and calming effect, which allows your mind to slow down. As a result, you can relax and switch off for a while, reduce anxiety and balance yourself.
Whenever you feel anxious, remember you are not alone. What’s important is knowing how to respond to your anxiety wisely, rather than reacting blindly. You should try and balance your body and mind, be it via breathing, guided meditation for anxiety or any other way you are comfortable. Prolonged anxiety can impact your health adversely, so it’s important you’re able to cope.
If you’ve been suffering from anxiety for over 2 months, we will help you. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to connect you with a therapist or qualified expert who can help you.
Evolve’s guided audios on anxiety are contextualised for different scenarios that can help you find proper solutions and reduce anxiety. If interested, try the belly breathing audio now!