Deep breathing exercises calm the nervous system and help to restore the body's natural oxygen levels. Oxygen levels can be disrupted by the hyperventilation and shallow breathing associated with anxiety, leading to dizziness, tingling sensations, and chest pains. Deep breathing can also improve relaxation, digestion, and circulation.
Start by finding a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. Loosen any restrictive clothing and lie down in a comfortable position. If back pain or other health issues prevent you from lying flat on your back, you can sit in a straight-backed chair. Take a few moments to settle down and allow your breathing to fall into a natural rhythm.
Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest, as this enables you to see the kind of breaths you are taking. The aim of these breathing exercises is to breathe into your belly, rather than your chest, which means that the hand on your belly should rise and fall naturally, while the hand on your chest should remain still.
Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of four, then gently hold your breath for three or four seconds. Breathe out slowly through your mouth for a count of eight, allowing your whole body to relax and release tension as you exhale. Repeat the breathing exercises for 5-10 minutes.
When you first start your breathing exercises, you may notice a brief increase in anxiety levels, dizziness or giddiness, as levels of carbon dioxide in your body will change, but these symptoms will soon pass.
Allow your breathing to fall back into a natural pattern and take a few moments to come back into the room before standing up, as this will help to prevent dizziness and disorientation.
Deep breathing exercises can reduce anxiety, increase relaxation, and improve digestion, although you may notice a temporary increase in anxiety levels when you first start breathing deeply. Practice the breathing exercises two or three times a day to gain maximum benefits.
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