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Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

Updated: 2 days ago

Breathing exercises are a popular technique for managing anxiety. These exercises involve taking deep breaths and focusing on the breath to calm the mood and body. Breathing exercises can be done anywhere and at any time, making them a convenient and effective tool for managing anxiety.

The Science Behind Breathing Exercises and Anxiety

Breathing exercises work by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” response. This response counters the sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response, which is triggered during times of stress and anxiety.

When we are anxious, our breathing can become shallow and rapid. This type of breathing can further exacerbate anxiety symptoms by sending a signal to the brain that something is wrong. By practicing deep breathing exercises, we can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and slow down our breathing, which can help to calm the mind and body.

Studies have shown that breathing exercises can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. In one study, participants who practiced deep breathing exercises for eight weeks showed a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to a control group. Another study found that deep breathing exercises were effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Incorporating Breathing Exercises Into Your Daily Routine

Breathing exercises for anxiety can be incorporated into daily routine in a number of ways. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Set aside time each day to practice breathing exercises. You may want to start with just a few minutes a day and gradually work your way up to longer periods of time.

  • Find a quiet and comfortable place to practice. This could be a designated meditation space in your home or simply a quiet corner of a room where you can sit and focus on your breath.

  • Experiment with different types of breathing exercises. There are many different types of exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, alternate nostril breathing and box breathing. Try a few different techniques and see what works best for you.

  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and can be incorporated into your breathing exercises. As you breathe in and out, focus your attention on your breath and try to let go of any distracting thoughts.

  • Be consistent. Like any new habit, it takes time and consistency to see results. Try to practice breathing exercises at the same time each day to establish routine.

Breathing exercises for anxiety. Iremia Counselling


Ubolnuar, N., Tantisuwat, A., Thaveeratitham, P., Lertmaharit, S., Kruapanich, C., & Mathiyakom, W. (2019). Effects of Breathing Exercises in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Annals of rehabilitation medicine, 43(4), 509–523.


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