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Breathing Techniques to Help Manage Anxiety
Rapid breathing often occurs if you experience an anxiety or panic attack. Use one of these three techniques to calm your breathing and regain control.
Purse your lips lightly, leaving a small opening between your lips. Inhale slowly. Hold the breath for a second or two before exhaling with your mouth open. Repeat several times until your symptoms begin to decrease.
Lie on the floor or sit in a comfortable chair. Place one hand over your abdomen. Inhale deeply through your nose and hold the breath for several seconds. When you perform the exercise correctly, the hand on your abdomen will rise slightly as you inhale. Hold the breath as long as you comfortably can, then exhale through your mouth. Repeat several times.
Quieting Reflex Breathing
You will use a combination of deep breathing and visualization techniques to perform this exercise. As you inhale, imagine that there are holes in the bottoms of your feet. Pretend that hot air enters these holes and slowly moves up your body to your lungs. As you visualize the air entering your lungs, hold the breath and then exhale. When you exhale, picture the air slowly leaving your body through the holes in your feet. Concentrate on relaxing your legs and abdomen as you visualize the air passing through them.
Anxiety is a problem for many people. In fact, 18 percent of adults suffer from the disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Yoga offers an easy, drug-free way to manage anxiety symptoms. The next time you experience anxiety symptoms, try one of these poses.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is an excellent pose if you suffer from anxiety or fatigue. During this pose, you will form an inverted "V" shape with your body. Start the pose on your hands and knees. Straighten your knees and elbows, while pushing your hips up toward the ceiling to form the "V" shape. Hold the pose for up to a minute, then return to your original position. Repeat Downward Facing Dog five times.
The Child's Pose promotes rest and relaxation and helps reduce tension in your neck and back. This pose begins on your hands and knees with your big toes touching. Make sure your hands are directly under your arms, and keep your legs in alignment with your hips. Sit back on your heels, then slowly extend your arms and upper body forward until your forehead touches the floor. Hold the pose for a minute or more before returning to your starting position.
The Cat Pose can help you release tension that can contribute to anxiety. During this pose, you will imitate a cat arching its back. Begin on your hands and knees with your back straight. Exhale slowly, and arch your back toward the ceiling. Drop your head slightly so that your entire back and head form a curved line. Hold the pose for five seconds, then inhale and return to your starting position. Repeat the pose five or more times.
Legs Up the Wall Pose
The Legs Up the Wall Pose may look very simple, but it is a great way to reduce stress. Lie down on the floor facing a wall and lift your legs against the wall, keeping your knees straight. Pull your sit bones as close to the wall as possible. If it's too uncomfortable to lie directly on the floor, place a pillow or rolled up yoga mat under your hips before you begin the pose. Hold the pose for five minutes or longer. As you breathe in and out, imagine the stressful feelings leaving your body.
The Tree Pose not only reduces stress and anxiety, but also helps improve your balance. Start the pose in a standing position. Make sure your feet are no more than a hip's width apart. Lift your right leg, bend your knee and rest your right foot against your left inner thigh, keeping your knee pointing toward the side. If you can't quite reach your inner thigh, aim for a spot just below your knee. Make sure your toes are pointed downward. Bring your hands together in front of you as though you are praying. Hold the pose for three breaths, return to your starting position and repeat the pose with your other leg.
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