Various emotions are accompanied by different forms of breathing. For example, if you feel happy, you possibly breathe normally and slowly. But when angry or nervous, you may start palpitating; breathing fast, shallow, and irregular. What does this mean? When anxious, the vagus nervous- part of the parasympathetic nervous system that regulates rest and digestion, is stimulated leading to reduced breathing rate, thus relaxing the body. Therefore, deep breathing exercises are meant to calm down the sympathetic nervous system- one responsible for ‘fight and flight’, to lessen anxiety. You can use various breathing techniques, such as;

4-7-8 breathing

The 4-7-8 technique is like a soother to the nervous system. I always tell my clients to try the exercise when seated, but after becoming more familiar with it, they can do it lying down. Tod to this;

  • Keep your tongue’s tip against the area behind your upper scissors- till the exercise ends.
  • Exhale through the mouth with a ‘whoosh’ sound.
  • With the mouth closed, quietly inhale via the nose; mentally count to 4.
  • Hold the inhale for another count of 7.
  • Exhale through the mouth with a ‘whoosh’ sound; and count to 8.

Box breathing

Have you ever found yourself breathing in line with a song’s rhythm? If yes, then you must have practiced this form of breathing. The steps include;

  • Exhale
  • On the exhale, hold and count to four.
  • Inhale
  • Hold and count to four again.
  • Repeat the pattern up to ten times.
Julia Davis

Mental health expert
MS, University of Latvia

I am deeply convinced that each patient needs a unique, individual approach. Therefore, I use different psychotherapy methods in my work. During my studies, I discovered an in-depth interest in people as a whole and the belief in the inseparability of mind and body, and the importance of emotional health in physical health. In my spare time, I enjoy reading (a big fan of thrillers) and going on hikes.

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