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Tips for Managing Anxiety

Tips for Managing Anxiety

When we feel anxious, we tend to breathe faster. New research shows breathwork exercises help us consciously slow down our breathing, which can positively affect mood by helping to regulate our emotions and induce a more relaxed physical state.

The researchers compared three different breathwork exercises among a group of about 100 randomly assigned people; one group was instructed in mindfulness meditation, and everybody did the exercises at home. 

One group practiced cyclic sighing – slowly inhaling and exhaling through the mouth; another group used box breathing – spending the same amount of time inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling, and holding; the third group used cyclic hyperventilation – taking one deep breath in through the nose, exhaling passively, and then holding their breath after 30 cycles. One group performed mindfulness meditation, which emphasizes being aware of but not controlling breathing.

Blurred photo of woman suffering from anxiety and dizziness

After 28 days, all the participants reported having more positive feelings and fewer negative ones and reduced anxiety than before they had started. “It seems practicing some control over your respiration can help control physiological reactions like heart rate and blood pressure,” said one of the researchers. 

The participants who showed the greatest improvement practiced cyclic sighing, and the more respiration rate decreased in cyclic sighers, the more their positive emotions increased.

So when you’re feeling anxious or down, remember to take a breath; it’s good for your brain.

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