Work piling up? Assignment deadlines coming up soon? Is the things-to-do list never getting done? Pause for a minute and pay attention to how you breathe. Breathing consciously can help you relax and take each day as it comes. Conscious breathing is a skill that is easy to master but requires effort and dedication. Moreover, you can practice this skill at any time of the day. Squeeze in a few minutes each day to practice conscious breathing before you move ahead to complete your professional and personal commitments.
HOW DOES CONSCIOUS BREATHING IMPACT ANXIETY?
Learning to breathe consciously can help you cope up with anxiety. Anxiety is characterized by an unhealthy increase in feelings such as unease, worry, and nervousness about future outcomes. A person suffering from anxiety can dread to wake up from bed to face the day.
Anxiety deters you from being hopeful and optimistic about life. However, you can take the initiative to change things for the better by learning to breathe consciously. Yes, science provides a solid backup that shows that conscious breathing curbs anxiety.
Remember that the problem of anxiety is tied strongly to human biology. Long since humans lived on the earth, they were genetically wired to detect and respond to the dangers in their surrounding environment.
As the result, the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is triggered. The Sympathetic Nervous System is a part of the Automatic Nervous System (ANS) which is largely responsible for taking care of bodily functions such as urination, heart-rate, blood-pressure; whereas, the SNS is specialized to respond to stressful situations.
This system produces the fight-or-flight response which prepares the body to respond to dangerous situations. As a result, the body produces adrenaline in huge amounts, the blood pressure goes up, the heart starts beating faster.
The breathing becomes fast and shallow. These bodily reactions motivate human beings to run away from harmful situations such as predator attacks or natural calamities or any other threatening situations.
In the present times, such huge spikes of anxiety are harmful given that we live in a relatively safer environment than before. Given that you live among humans in homes with your friends and family, high anxiety levels are not desirous responses.
Moreover, pent-up anxiety in the body would only lead to other problems such as mental breakdowns, lack of focus, procrastination, headaches, etc.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND CONSCIOUS BREATHING AND ITS ROLE IN MANAGING ANXIETY
As you learn to breathe consciously, the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) in your body is activated. The PNS is also a part of the Automatic Nervous System (ANS). PNS helps you to lower the stress and bring back the body to its resting state.
As PNS gets activated, the body starts to conserve energy. As the result, there is a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate. Most importantly, the activation of the PNS sends a signal to your brain that will calm you down and help you manage stressful situations in life effectively.
Here below are a couple of conscious breathing techniques that you can do to manage Anxiety.
- As your breathing becomes shallow during Anxiety. The first thing to do is to pay attention to how your breath varies. Inhale and take a deep breath through the nose. As you take in air, make sure that the chest rises and the abdomen expands. Exhale slowly through the mouth and keep your face muscles relaxed throughout the process. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes.
- Inhale through the nose. Hold your breath for three seconds. Slowly exhale through the mouth and relax your whole body. Stay in silence for one minute and slowly open your eyes.
The key point to remember is that you should not rush in to complete the techniques. Remember to not force yourself to breathe. Let go and breathe in beautifully. Managing anxiety is no small feat. Respect yourself and give yourself time.
You will surely see that life has changed for the better. You will wake up with enthusiasm for life. You will learn to let go of your mistakes and failures to embrace life. Remember, give time and breathe.