Purposeful breathing can cure insomnia, anxiety, stress and help control our emotions. It seems too good to be true, right?
Studies show breathing techniques stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system and psychological mind by relaxing or diverting our thoughts.
Scientific American offers the following six techniques to relieve stress through breathing:
Stand up or sit straight with your shoulders back, without stiffness. Your body posture helps you breath correctly.
Follow your breath paying attention to your inhalation and exhalation. How does the air feel as it passes through your nose and throat from your chest and belly? When you notice thoughts, go back to focusing on the breath.
Abdominal breathing is key. The origin of your breath should be from your diaphragm, not your chest. Fill up your belly with air then move it into your chest. Then empty your stomach, followed by your chest. Try this laying down first with your hand on your belly and chest to experience it.
Rhythmic breathing helps with anxiety by slowing down the rate of breathing. At the end of your inhalation hold your breath and mentally count 1, 2, 3 before exhaling. You can do the same with the exhale by holding the breath out for the same 1, 2, 3 count.
Alternate nostrils breathing through one nostril—inhalation and exhalation—and holding the other nostril closed. Then reverse and continue the pattern.
Think reassuring thoughts while breathing. One suggestion is to think “I am inhaling calm” or you can use any of your favorite relaxing phrases or mantras.