Anxiety can feel like a physical battle as much as a mental one but there is one technique you can use to help manage anxious feelings – breathing.
Breathing in a meaningful and thoughtful way to manage anxious feelings increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Further, breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body, shifting awareness away from the worries in your head and quieting your mind.
I learned many breathing techniques in outpatient therapy with one I use frequently and what to share with you: Four Square Breathing. I like Four Square (also referred to as “Box Breathing”) because it is easy to do, easy to remember and can be done inconspicuously anywhere, anytime.
It is quite simple and I encourage you to do it even when you are not feeling anxious so you can fall back on it in times of panic. It goes like this: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds…repeat 4 times. Here is a simple graphic for quick reference:
I have included a list of additional breathing exercises that I like. If there are any others you find effective, please share them below!–
Additional breathing exercises: