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3 Breath Practices For Anxiety That You Can Use Anywhere

Written by: Lucy Foster-Perkins and Rachel Fearnley, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Lucy Foster-Perkins and Rachel Fearnley

Are you feeling the weight of anxiety and looking for quick, effective ways to find calm amidst the chaos? Well, you're in the right place! In this blog, we'll explore three powerful breath practices tailored to different anxiety scenarios that you can whip out anywhere and practice without any equipment, with instant results.


A meditating man.

Remember, the breath is your constant companion, and with these practices, you can harness its calming power wherever you are.


1. Extended exhales


Feeling agitated and in need of a reset? Did you know that your exhale is connected to the parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” mode)? The Extended Exhales practice focuses on extending your exhales, encouraging a sense of calm and grounding. It's perfect for those moments when you need to centre yourself, whether at work, in a social setting, or simply navigating the hustle and bustle of daily life.


How to do it


Inhale through the nose for a count of 3 and exhale through the nose for a count of 6 (effectively doubling the count for your exhale). Repeat 10 times and change the count to 2:4 if you feel 3:6 is too challenging, or extend the count to 4:8 or 5:10 if your body is asking for it.


Don’t push it it’s not a competition to see who can do the longest counts. Listen to your body and take breaks if you need to.


2. Breathing through a straw A helpful tool for panic attack


If you’re someone who experiences panic attacks no matter the severity then this breath practice is your go-to for your panic’s antidote! "Breathing through a straw" created breathing room when it feels like the walls are closing in. Super discreet, super effective – a lifesaver even in the middle of a chaotic crowd.


How to do it


Inhale through your nose if you can (mouth is also fine) and then exhale through your mouth as if you’re blowing into a straw with pursed lips.


If, in the middle of a panic attack, you find yourself breathing really fast, then it is sometimes challenging to take long inhales without the inhale being jumpy or short. Don’t worry about this, just focus on your long exhales “through a straw”. You’ll find the inhales will start to be easier and longer after a few rounds.

Keep practising until you feel calmer and your breath returns to its normal pattern.


3. Box breathing: Boost your focus


When laser-sharp focus is the need of the hour, enter the world of "Box Breathing." This technique is your secret weapon to enhance concentration and productivity. It’s even used by special forces when they need to be focussed, centred and alert. It's an excellent practice for tasks that demand your full attention, helping you stay in the zone and keep your cool.


How to do it


Imagine a square with 4 sides with the number “3” on each side. As you inhale count to 3, hold the breath for 3 counts, exhale for 3 counts and hold the breath for 3 counts, as if each stage is a side of the box and all 4 sides are the sale length (3 counts). Repeat 10 times.


If you find it challenging to hold the breath on an inhale or an exhale then reduce all the counts to 2. If you’re feeling comfortable with 3 counts and want to lengthen out the breath then increase the counts to 4 - so 4 for an inhale, hold, exhale and hold.


Bonus practice: Shake it off (you may want to find a private place to do this one!)


For those days when the jitteriness has you on your feet and sitting down to breath seems like an impossible task, we present the "Shake It Off" practice.


Sometimes, the nervous energy needs an outlet before you can embrace the calm of breathwork. This practice allows you to release any pent-up, nervous energy, making space for a more centred breath experience.


How to do it


Stand up and start shaking your hands and arms, letting the shake travel through your body and shaking any bit that feels like it needs to move. Don’t forget to “shake” your face as well you may want to open your mouth wide, sign, or even scream! (P.S. If you don’t want to worry the neighbours then screaming into a pillow option!). Don’t worry about what it looks like the point is to give yourself permission to shake out any excess or unwanted energy.


There you have it – three breath practices and a bonus exercise to navigate the ebb and flow of anxiety.


Try these techniques in the moments that resonate with you, and discover the transformative power of intentional breathing. Oh, and if you're eager to become a certified stress-busting breath coach so you can pass on these tools to your family and friends, or even add breathwork to your offering to your clients?


Visit here to take The Whole Health Project’s Trauma Aware Online Breath Coach Training in the comfort of your own home and in your own time and transform your own breathing and discover your inner (free!) healer so you can live a fuller and happier life! Take this training for your own transformation and to become a breath coach yourself. 🌬✨


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and visit my website for more info!


Lucy Foster-Perkins and Rachel Fearnley Brainz Magazine
 

Lucy Foster-Perkins and Rachel Fearnley, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Through their company, The Whole Health Project, Lucy Foster-Perkins and Rachel Fearnley offer online Trauma Aware Teacher Trainings in Breathwork, Meditation, Yin Yoga and Trauma Aware Facilitation. After their sell out retreats in Bali were forced to close during the pandemic, Rachel and Lucy used to their extensive experience of teaching across the world to help other coaches and teachers to harness and teach accessible healing practices of Breathwork, Meditation and Yin Yoga, with an emphasis on understanding how Trauma Aware Facilitation can be the key to helping clients reach their goals.

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