Manage anxiety throughout your day with mindful breathing

Anxiety is a huge issue that many in society go through. It is considered the most common mental health condition in Australia and America. More than one in six Australians had an anxiety disorder such as social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder in the previous 12 months, while in America, over 40 million adults accounting for 19.1% of the population suffer from anxiety disorders.

Maintaining good mental health is like working out and should be practised daily, and breathing techniques when done right, are one of the easiest things we can do to make immediate, positive changes in our mental states. I’ll be sharing my daily routine of breathing exercises that I do throughout my day that you can easily incorporate throughout your working day to help manage your anxiety.

Before work: 4-7-8 Breathing

This technique helps calm your mind and increases your focus and concentration, grounding you before you start work.

Take a seat or find a comfortable spot, and start with a deep breath out through your mouth to empty your lungs.

  • Breathe in through your nose deeply for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • Exhale out from your mouth through pursed lips to make a “whooshing sound” for 8 seconds
  • Repeat the 4-7-8 technique between 4 to 6 times.

The ratio of the breaths is more important than the duration, so If you have trouble holding your breath, half it.

During work: Box breathing (square breathing)

When you feel the tension buildup, this technique boosts your concentration levels and re-centres your mind.

Take a seat with your back supported and your feet on the floor.

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose over 4 seconds to fill up your lungs, and visualise your diaphragm and belly expanding with the air
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  • Exhaling through your mouth for 4 seconds, emptying your lungs
  • After the exhale hold for another 4 seconds
  • This cycle can be repeated for 4 to 5 minutes, or as long as it takes to center yourself.

 

Adjust the counts to your comfort level. You can start with 2 or 3 seconds and work your way up. Focus on breathing and relaxing your muscles rather than engaging them.

After work: Alternate Nostril breathing

You’re finally done with work! This technique resets your mind, bringing you out of work mode to seize the rest of your day.

Sit upright and comfortably with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes if you need to.

  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb
  • Inhale through your right nostril for 4 seconds and fill your lungs fully
  • Place your right ring finger on your left nostril without releasing your right nostril and hold your breath for 4 seconds
  • Exhale fully from your left nostril for 4 seconds while keeping your right nostril closed
  • Inhale through your left nostril for 4 seconds and fill your lungs fully
  • Close both nostrils again and hold your breath for 4 seconds
  • Exhale fully from your left nostril for 4 seconds while keeping your right nostril closed
  • Repeat for 5-10 times

 

Make sure to breathe naturally, and don’t force your breath. Focus on the air going in and out of your body. If you have difficulties holding your breath, pause between inhalations and work your way up the repetitions.

Conclusion – Breathing with intent and purpose daily will improve your life

The breathing techniques can be done and repeated throughout the day. Do them regularly and feel the difference. What other health habits do you include throughout your day? Let me know!

 

By  Claire Wu, CEO and Founder of www.breatheintopeace.com 

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