Restore Your Body to a State of Calm With These Breathing Techniques

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

No matter which generation you’re born into, your body retains basic survival skills that have been around as long as humans. It was, after all, that sense of anxiety and panic which kept people alive. But our bodies — and especially our brains — sometimes have a tendency to go into that fight-or-flight mode even when we’re perfectly safe.

That overactive mind can feel totally overwhelming, but the good news is, that simply breathing can help quieten it down. When you take in more oxygen, your heart rate slows, and your mind starts to slow.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique can be performed standing, sitting, or lying down. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then exhale slowly for 8 seconds. Do this at least 6 times. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest. Slowly breathe into the one on your stomach. Aim for inhalations that are 4-5 seconds long and hold it in if you can. When exhaling, take your time, drawing your belly in toward your spine.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

You may be familiar with this technique from yoga. Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril. Then, place your index pointer finger over your left nostril, release your thumb, and exhale through your right nostril. Repeat on the other side.