deep breathing techniques for anxiety


Controlled breath can offer many mental and physical health benefits. Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve which links the brain to the heart, lungs and digestive tract. 

The vagus nerve stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which can calm your body when stressed and brings it back to its resting state. Practicing deep breathing can be calming, reduce anxiety and improve your health

The following deep breathing techniques can be helpful in self-soothing when feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious.

Square Breathing

Square (or box) breathing is great for beginners. During box breathing, you inhale and exhale to a controlled, equal measurable counts. 

The pattern for box breathing is: 

1. Inhale for a count of 4. 2. Hold the top of your breath for a count of 4. 3. Gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4. 4. At the bottom of your breath, pause and hold for a count of 4.

alternate nostril breathing

This practice both energizes and relaxes. It can provide a sense of calm and focus, lowers heart rate and stress levels for emotional and physical benefits.

Alternate Nostril Breathing Tutorial:

1. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Relax your jaw and your tongue. 2. Exhale completely, and use your right thumb to close your right nostril. 3. Inhale through the left nostril, then close the left nostril with your fingers. 4. Pause.

Continued Tutorial:

5. Open the right nostril, and exhale through this side. 6. Inhale through the right nostril, then close it. 7. Pause. 8. Open the left nostril, and exhale through that side. 9. Continue for as long as needed..

4-7-8 breathing

This simple, counted breath regulation technique can alleviate symptoms of anxiety. The focus on counting breaths can slow your breathing and help you feel more controlled and focused.

4-7-8 Tutorial:

1. Empty your lungs. 2. Breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds. 3. Hold the breath for 7 seconds. 4. Exhale through the mouth for 8 seconds. 5. Repeat the cycle roughly four times.

For more healthy living, mindfulness, wellness and yoga content, check out