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How to breathe better

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.

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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.

  • 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 sym...

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.

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

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