Breathing more slowing, gently and deeply helps to calm and relax your body and also reduces tension, anxiety and can improve memory and concentration.
Typically, we engage in shallow and fast breathing which can contribute to anxiety, muscular tension, panic attacks, headaches and fatigue. We usually don't attribute these symptoms to something as simple as how we are breathing, but it's an important factor!
Abdominal breathing, is one of the easiest ways to produce a relaxation response. If you practice for 10 or more minutes per day you will learn the proper technique for deep relaxation. It will take some time to get the hang of it, but that is ok, the more you practice the more it will become like second nature. Throughout the day, frequently take a few slow, deep breaths or do a couple of minutes of abdominal breathing, especially when feeling stressed.
The best part about breathing exercises for managing stress and anxiety is this can be done anytime, anywhere and no one else even has to know you're doing it!
How to breathe deeply:
Six breaths per minute is ideal for practice... inhale for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds and then exhale for 7 seconds. Exhaling for longer than inhaling causes you to have to really force the breath out.
Breathe in through your nose and out very slowly through your mouth (purse your lips and breathe out as though blowing through a straw, this will prolong your exhalation).
Deep breathing can be very beneficial throughout the day if there are things that cause you particular stress, it can be very helpful just before bed if you find your mind is wandering, or it is just a good skill to practice so it becomes a tool in your toolbox to use whenever you need it!