1. Basic Deep Breathing:
- Place your hands on your stomach, just below your rib cage.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose as you silently count to five. Imagine the air is filling up your stomach. You should notice your hands rising as you breath in. Your chest should remain fairly stable. If your chest is moving in and out as you breathe, this signals shallow breathing and can lead to hyperventilation. People with anxiety often breathe shallowly and need to learn how to breathe more deeply.
- Once you have taken in a full breath to the count of four, hold it for a count of two and then slowly exhale through your nose to the count of six. This ensures that all the “dead air” is removed from your lungs. While exhaling, say the word “Relax” or “Let go” in your mind and allow your body to relax.
- Take two normal breaths and then repeat steps 1 through 3 above. Continue for about 5 minutes. Doing the above technique will help to reduce an anxiety episode.
- Practice the above for two weeks. Then try just saying the word “Relax” or “Let go” and see how your body responds by relaxing gently. Your brain will associate the word “Relax” or the words “Let go” with the sense of relaxation brought about by deep breathing. These words have become “cues” to your brain to relax.
- For added relaxation, use lavender oil at the beginning of a deep breathing session. Place 2 or 3 drops of pure lavender essence on the palm of your hand. Rub your hands vigorously together and form a cup with them in front of you. Hold your cupped hands about 10 centimetres away from your face. Repeat steps 1 through 3 above. The lavender oil has an additional calming effect that enhances relaxation. Use it during times of stress or during anxiety or panic.
2. Alternate Nostril Breathing:
- Sit comfortably on a chair or the floor. Place you right hand near your face, with your index and pointer fingers touching the space between your eyes.
- As you cover your right nostril with your thumb, breathe in through your left nostril.
- At the top of your breath, release your thumb and cover your left nostril with your fourth finger and breathe out through your right nostril.
- Then breathe in through your right nostril and out through the left.
- Keep breathing through alternate nostrils for about 5 minutes.
3. Counting Your Breath:
- Find a comfortable position on a chair or on the floor.
- Close your eyes and tune in to your breath. Don’t change it, just notice the in-breath and the out-breath.
- As you inhale, count, “one.” As you exhale, count, “one.”
- Inhale again and count, “two.” Exhale again and count, “two.”
- Continue with this counting until you reach ten, then return to one and begin again.
4. Bumble Bee Breath
- Start by taking a few natural breaths, and close your eyes
- Inhale through your nose and as you exhale, make the sound of the letter M, essentially a humming sound. Sustain the sound until you need to inhale.
- Then repeat: Inhale through the nose, then hum like a buzzing bee as you exhale.
- Continue by inhaling as needed and exhaling with this sound for several minutes. You can practice as long as it feels good.
- Inhale whenever necessary, and let the buzzing sound last as long as it is comfortable.
- Finally, spend a few breaths sitting quietly and noticing whether there are any changes in your breath or mood.
This technique combines deep breathing with palming and is helpful when you are tired.
- Sit in a comfortable position, either on a chair or cross-legged on the floor.
- Close your eyes and take 3 slow deep breaths.
- Rub the palms of your hands together vigorously until they feel warm.
- Place your hands gently over your closed eyes with your fingers resting on your forehead.
- Continue to take slow deep breaths.
- After about one minute, repeat steps 3, 4 and 5. Do this up to 5 times.
- Then do the same exercise but with your eyes open.