Stress and anxiety can affect your heart rate and breathing patterns, having a regular heartbeat will allow your body and mind to feel in a relaxed and zen state. A relaxed breathing rate is usually 10 to 12 breaths per minute.
Practice the below exercise three to four times a day when you’re feeling stressed or anxious so that you can use this as a short-term coping strategy.
- Time the number of breaths you take in one minute. Breathing in then out is counted as one breath.
- Breathe in. Hold your breath and count to five. Then breathe out and say the word ‘relax’ to yourself in a calm soothing manner.
- Start breathing in through your nose and out slowly through your mouth in a six-second cycle. Breathe in for three seconds and out for three seconds. This will produce a breathing rate of 10 breaths per minute. In the beginning, it can be helpful to time your breathing using the second hand of a watch or clock.
- Count to yourself.
- Continue breathing in a six-second cycle for at least five minutes or until the symptoms of over-breathing have settled.
After practicing this exercise, time the number of breaths you take in one minute. Practice the controlled breathing exercise each day before breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime.
Use the technique whenever you feel anxious. Gradually, you’ll be familiar enough with the exercise to stop timing yourself.
Practice this exercise three to four times each day, so that it becomes easy to use as a short-term coping strategy when you feel anxious.