Anytime we feel stress and anxiety building up in our chests, taking a moment to breathe is one of the best ways to stay calm and relaxed. Deep breathing has been proven to be quite effective to help us deal with stressful situations, but properly learning and applying one of the many techniques will make this the more effective. Here we have 3 deep breathing techniques that will help us calm down whenever we are facing a difficult moment.
- Exhale longer than you inhale. Inhaling tends to be linked to our fight-or-flight response, when exhaling influences how our body relaxes and calms down. Extended exhaling, then, is one of the easiest and most effective deep breathing techniques we can apply. Before inhaling, we should try to exhale all the air we already have in our lungs. Then, let your lungs normally fill up with air again. If this takes us four seconds, we should spend more than that exhaling. After three to five minutes of doing this repeatedly, we should be feeling calmer than when we started.
- Breathing from your diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle located right beneath our lungs, and using it to breath can actually reduce the work the body needs to breathe deeply. The best way to learn how to breathe from your diaphragm is by laying down on the floor or on your bed, putting one hand over your heart and the other under your rib cage. When you breathe, notice whether your stomach or your chest moves when you inhale and exhale. When your stomach is what moves when breathing, instead of your chest, it means you are using your diaphragm. Try this three or four times a day for around 10 minutes, and it will become second nature to you.
- Inhale and exhale equally. Equal breathing is an exercise that comes from the ancient practice of pranayama yoga, which consists of inhaling and exhaling for the same amount of time. Before starting to practice this technique, we should sit or lay down and breathe as we normally do. We should pay attention to this for several breaths. Then, we might want to slowly count to four as we inhale, exhaling for the same amount of time. We should focus on how our lungs get full of air and how they become empty again. Remember to keep your breathing going for the same amount of time in order to properly apply this breathing technique.
When your chest is open,
and you’re breathing deeply,
it lifts your spirits.