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Three Top Breathing Tips for Managing Fear, Anxiety and Stress

Posted By Tim Altman  
20:00 PM

1. Breathe through the Nose not the Mouth

Breathe gently in and out through the nose at all times- unless exercising.    This reduces the volume of breathing, slows it down, and therefore enables you to produce more energy. Nose breathing also increases relaxation and nitric oxide (which is a relaxant, antioxidant and vasodilator).



2. Breathe using the diaphragm, relax the chest/shoulders

Breathe using primarily the diaphragm rather than the chest and shoulders- they belly moves, not the chest and shoulders. This includes during exercise, although in this case the chest and shoulders follow or assist diaphragm contraction.Again, this slows breathing down, uses the full lung volume for gas exchange, increases energy, and relaxes the nervous system.


3. Breathe gently with a longer exhale

Breathe more slowly and gently making the exhale at least 50% longer than the inhale - this relaxes the nervous system in a very short time by increasing parasympathetic nervous system enervation. Try not take the bigger breath in. The emphasis should be on a longer exhale, not inhale.



Practice Exercise

An example breathing exercise to use to prevent fear, anxiety or stress, when they take hold.

  • Lie or sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.
  • Gently breathe in and out through and the diaphragm to drive breathing – imagining your abdomen is a balloon inflating on inhalation and gently exhaling (no force) on exhalation.
  • Make sure you breathe gently in and out – make the breath silent, with less air. We want gentle breathing, not big deep breaths.
  • Breathe to this rhythm – in for 3 seconds or a slow count of 3; out for 5 seconds or a count of 5. The exhalation needs to be at least 50% longer than inhale as it increases relaxation and calm.
  • Do this for a minimum of 5 minutes, or a maximum of 10 minutes 2-3 times daily.



Deep breathing is a myth - we want slow, steady, gentle breathing. Especially when you are stressed!!

 To learn more