Breathing Exercise for Anxiety
In this article you will learn one of the most effective, yet simple exercises that reduces anxiety, panic attacks, and stress.
The exercise is called Abdominal Breathing.
Abdominal Breathing helps to calm the nervous system and relieves uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
Abdominal Breathing Exercise Step-by-Step
This breathing technique can be practiced anywhere and anytime.
However, in the beginning it is helpful to practice in a quiet and comfortable place.
The more often you practice this breathing exercise, the easier it becomes to apply the technique in situations of acute anxiety or panic.
Step 1 – Make Yourself Comfortable
Before you start the exercise, take a moment to make yourself comfortable. For the best results, allow your body to be fully supported. Lie on a couch, mattress, or other soft surface.
It is very important that your whole body stays warm throughout the exercise. Especially warming up the feet can already reduce anxiety and other negative feelings.
When your body feels cold, it is very difficult to relax and to calm the nervous system.
Step 2 – Slowly Breathe to the Lower Abdomen
Place your right hand on your lower belly, and the left hand on your chest. Become aware of your breath.
Inhale through your nose, and slowly exhale through your mouth.
Let your breath move towards your lower abdomen. This means that, with each inhalation, your belly expands like a balloon. Whereas, with each exhalation, your belly relaxes and sinks back down.
Repeat this breathing technique until the symptoms of anxiety or panic become less.
Step 3 – Focus on Breathing and Relaxation
Keep focussing on the movement of the breath in your lower belly. Consciously relax your body with each exhalation.
Maybe in the beginning it feels difficult to focus your mind. Be patient.
When you become distracted, very gently and kindly bring your attention back to the breathing exercise.
How long should I practice Abdominal Breathing?
Practice Abdominal Breathing for 5-15 minutes, or as long as it takes for the symptoms of anxiety to calm down.