It’s no secret to anyone that anxiety is currently one of the most common disorders in modern society.
Whether it manifests as excessive appetite, nervousness, a necessity to bit your nails or even panic attacks, anxiety has multiple forms and sometimes it can be difficult to recognize it.
Stress, unprocessed emotions, biochemical or hormonal disorders can trigger these episodes and although there are different methods to control them, breathing exercises not only reduce the occurrence of any episode but are also a tool to deal with them when they come to mess our daily routine.
Morning and nighttime routine
- Sit on the edge of your bed or in a chair that allows your knees to be angled at 90 degrees and the soles of your feet are firmly planted on the floor.
- Keep your back straight
- Inhale deeply as slowly as you can and while doing so expand your entire abdomen to allow as much air as possible
- Without holding your breath, exhale slowly as you contract your abdomen to expel the air.
- You can help with your hands to press the abdomen to expel the air
- Do the exercise for three minutes and increase progressively until you reach 15 minutes.
The movement of the abdomen should mimic that of a bellows to allow the diaphragm to move throughout the exercise.
It’s important that you identify if your breathing stops in some point without insisting much on solving the problem immediately. The goal of this exercise is that your breathing becomes automatically fluid through body accustoming.
This exercise should be done both in the morning shortly after waking up and at night before bedtime, always on an empty stomach and the air should enter and exit only through the nose.
- With the thumb of your left hand, cover the left nostril and inhale slowly and deeply through the right nostril.
- When you reach the peak of lung capacity, cover the right nostril with your index or middle finger and release the left nostril.
- Exhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril.
- Repeat 10 times
This exercise can be done standing or sitting and at any time of the day, it’s ideal to face daily stress or to reduce the nervousness that could produce a stressful situation such as an exam or a public presentation.
Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation
- With your eyes closed and a comfortable posture, either lying on a firm surface or sitting in a comfortable chair, you proceed to maintain a deep and regular breath.
- Begin by tensing your feet and calves for a period of 3-10 seconds and then relax them for the same amount of time. Make three series while keeping your breath at a constant rate.
- Go ascending with tension-relaxation exercises through the different muscle groups through the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, hands, arms, shoulders, back, chest, neck, jaw, eyes and head.
- The most important thing is that you keep breathing on a constant rhythm while doing the whole body tension-relaxation exercises
This is an ideal technique for those who suffer from tensions, tingling or numbness in the muscles due to anxiety and stress.
You can do it at any time of the day taking into account that it will take at least three minutes to complete it.
It’s important that at the time of the exercise, you do it in a place and a space of time where you are sure that you will not have interruptions of any kind.
While these exercises that we present here serve to reduce anxiety and educate the body and mind to deal with more tools such as panic attacks, they do not supplant any medical treatment that has been prescribed by a doctor.