Mind Bender

6 Anxiety Reducing Breathwork Exercises You Should Know

6 Anxiety-Reducing Breathing Exercises You Should Know

During an emergency, an anxiety attack, or a high-stress situation, a person’s breathing pattern and rate changes. What happens is we start to breathe shallow, rapid breaths from the upper lungs, instead of deep calm breaths from the lower lungs. This leads to an increase in oxygen and a sudden decrease in carbon dioxide. When we are under physical exertion, this decrease is essential. However, under normal circumstances, hyperventilation discharges too much.  

Changing your breathing pattern to stimulate the body’s parasympathetic response counters your body’s emergency response, and is a great way to reduce anxiety.

1. Calming Yourself Through Proper Breathing

Proper breathing, or abdominal breathing, is an excellent way to breathe all day long unless you are in vigorous physical activity. Proper breathing provides for adequate levels of oxygen intake and carbon dioxide exhalation. 

This breathing pattern may tire people who are not used to belly breathing. It will eventually get better with practice. Try doing this exercise three to four times a day for up to ten minutes per session. Daily practice will enable this technique to become automatic to you. 

2. Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing

This technique is a way to control panicky heartbeat, vent hyperventilation, and impart a sense of physical comfort. 

Practice this technique for a few weeks at least ten times daily. Sneak it in during work breaks, before sleeping, and during idle times to familiarize yourself with the process. When you feel panic or anxiety building up, then you can use this as a calming tool. 

3. Exhale More Than Inhaling

Taking a deep breath is more closely linked to the sympathetic nervous system, the body’s “fight-or-flight” response. On the other hand, exhaling is related to the parasympathetic nervous system, the one that relaxes and calms down our body. 

This exhalation tip can be done in any position, whether lying down, sitting down, or standing up.  

4. Equal Breathing 

This breathing exercise evolved from the practice of pranayama yoga. The term “equal breathing” is apt since this technique revolves around exhaling for the same length of time you are inhaling. 

5. Alternate Nostril Breathing 

Alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana is a cleansing practice that involves breathing in and out air through one nostril at a time. This type of breathing is a famous meditation or yoga technique. 

6. Calming Counts 

A cycle of a “calming count” takes longer to complete, and that is a good thing in ridding anxiety. You have to spend time completing this technique, taking your mind off your worrying thoughts. You will also give yourself more time to cool yourself down and quiet your thoughts. 


These breathing exercises can make you feel better by alleviating anxiety-related symptoms. Keep in mind, though, that breathing is affected in part by our thoughts, so make sure to also work on developing your mindset if this isn’t an area you’ve invested time into. Apply for the Mindset Mastery to see if you’re accepted into the 6-week self-paced program for direct support from us.



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