Did you know that July is mental health awareness month? Well, now you do!
Due to the stressful times we live in, anxiety is running high in every household. Now more than ever, we need to not only be kind to others, but also to ourselves.
I’m here to tell you about how taking some time to do some simple breathing exercises can help you decrease your anxiety.
When a person is anxious, we tend to take quick, shallow breaths high up in the chest. This type of breathing causes an imbalance between our oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, which can result in increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension and other physical symptoms.
However, when we take nice, deep breaths using our diaphragm, we stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps calm down our heart rate, blood flow and breathing. This will help us avoid the ‘fight or flight’ response our body has to mentally or physically scary situations.
Next time you are feeling anxious, try one of these breathing exercises:
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise acts as a natural sedative for the nervous system. Here’s how you do it:
Sitting up with your back straight, breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds. Next hold your breath in for a count of 7, and then exhale for the count of 8. Repeat this ten times.
Alternate nostril breathing
Alternate nostril breathing involves blocking off one nostril at a time as you take a breath through the other, alternating between the nostrils in a regular rhythm. Do your best to try and repeat this exercise for 10 rounds.
Box breathing is a simple exercise whereby you breathe in a pattern. Picture a square or a box and follow the lines. As you follow one line, breath in for 4 seconds, as you follow the next line exhale for 4 seconds, and continue.