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Top 5 Breathing Exercises for Stress Relief

Dr. Hira Tanveer

2 min read

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Many people find themselves in challenging situations everyday that trigger stress, while others battle anxiety. Both stress and anxiety can cause poor breathing patterns that can aggravate the symptoms even further. These include, shallow breathing, over-breathing and monitored breathing.

The effect of these poor breathing techniques is—hyperventilation. They may, further induce chest pain, faster heart rate and anxiety attacks.

How can breathing exercises help?

Breathing exercises can help regulate breathing and prevent anxiety attacks. They are especially helpful in a stressful situation, however, you can also incorporate them in your daily activities to prevent an attack. However, before you try them out, be watchful of the tips below!

Tips for breathing exercises:

  • You may do these exercises at any place, but try to do them at the same time everyday
  • Perform these while wearing comfortable clothing
  • Once or twice a day is enough

Which exercises can help:

There are many breathing techniques that are helpful in combating depression and anxiety.

Deep breathing:

It helps reduce depression but it is not the best thing to do when having a panic attack. To do this, sit comfortably in a chair, or lie down with a pillow under the knees and head. Breathe in slowly through the nose, for about five or six seconds. Hold yourbreath, and breathe out through the mouth, like a whistle. Focus on your breath and repeat this ten times.

4-7-8 breathing:

This technique will work as a natural tranquilizer, and is based on a yoga technique. It is to be done at least twice a day. To do this, sit back in a chair. Start with exhaling through the mouth, followed by inhalation through the nose for a count of four. Then hold the breath for a count of seven. This is to be followed by an exhale for the count of eight while making a whoosh sound.

Alternate nostril breathing technique:

This is another technique that is derived from yoga. This breathing exercise helps balance and harmonize the brain. It results in greatly reduced stress in individuals who practice it. To perform this technique, sit comfortably and then place your right middle and index fingers in the middle of your eyebrows.

Now inhale through left nostril while your right nostril is closed (with the right thumb). Hold your breath momentarily and also close your left nostril by the right index finger during this time. Thus, both nostrils are closed. This is to be followed by slow exhalation through the right nostril. In the second cycle, inhale through the right nostril and then hold both nostrils close again, and exhale through the left nostril.

Diaphragmatic breathing:

This technique helps combat high blood pressure i.e. associated with stress and stressful situations. To do this, lie on the back with knees bent. Put a hand below the ribs (feel the diaphragm that moves when you breathe) and another hand on upper chest.

Now, inhale slowly through the nose and feel the stomach move out as the chest fills with air. After this, tighten the stomach muscles during exhalation through the mouth.

Body scan:

This breathing technique focuses on different parts of the body during breathing. It is very helpful for combating PTSD symptoms. To do this, lie down, or sit comfortable.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath. This should be accompanied by a visualization of air entering the body. Focus on each area of the body and pay attention to sensations. Take a moment and then breathe out. It should be started with short periods (three to five minutes) and then increased to about twenty minutes.

All of the above exercises can be great for mental stress. However, note that it is always best them to combine with medical consultation. Don’t forget to reach out to a top psychologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Hira Tanveer - Author Dr. Hira Tanveer is an MBBS doctor and currently serving at CMH Lahore. Writing is her favorite hobby as she loves to share professional advice on trendy healthcare issues, general well-being, healthy diet, and lifestyle.
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