Is the Way You Breathe Making You Anxious? - Deepstash
Breathing and anxiety

We have become pretty bad at the most basic act of living: breathing. We breathe through our mouths and into our chests, and we do it way too fast.

Besides the health problems this may cause, breathing the wrong way may have another big consequence: contributing to our anxiety and other mental health problems.

139 STASHED

3 LIKES

Instead of trying to think yourself out of feeling anxious, you can do something more specific: breathe slow or fast, in a particular rhythm, or through a nostril; this can work as an instant relief.

A regular breathing practice will help you feel calmer in daily situations, but studies suggest that focusing on your breathing in moments of acute stress could also be useful.

129 STASHED

3 LIKES

The way we breathe can set off a cascade of physical changes in the body that promote either stress or relaxation.

Breathing impacts the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) branches of our nervous system, and certain techniques can promote more parasympathetic calm and relaxation. Some may also cause us to release hormones like prolactin and possibly oxytocin, the feel-good hormone of love and bonding.

125 STASHED

4 LIKES

  • Breathing fast can act as a trigger for people with anxiety causing symptoms that often accompany panic attacks, but you can use that to your advantage.
  • When you breathe fast and start to feel symptoms that you normally associate with anxiety, it may help you re-interpret those symptoms in a less threatening way.
  • They become less worrisome because they have a clear cause, the same way an elevated heart rate during exercise doesn’t bother us.
  • And if you can connect anxiety to faulty breathing habits, it means you can change the way you breathe and potentially see some improvement.

130 STASHED

3 LIKES

Many of the techniques that have been formally researched are derived from pranayama, yogic breathing that dates back to ancient India:

  • Ujayyi: Deep breathing with a narrowed throat, creating an ocean-like sound, often recommended while doing yoga asanas.
  • Bhastrika, or “bellows breath”: inhaling and exhaling forcefully.
  • Nadi Sodhan and Anulom Vilom: Types of alternate nostril breathing, where air is inhaled in one nostril and exhaled through the other, sometimes with breath holding.

Although these shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for therapy or a cure for severe anxiety, they can be a free, simple tool for both short-term relief and long-term benefit.

160 STASHED

1 LIKE

Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.

GET THE APP:

❤️ Brainstash Inc.