Stress Management Deep Breathing Exercises for Anxiety and Depression

By Lopez Grayson May 29, 2021 in Yoga

Feeling breathless is common among people who often experience stress arising from various sources. It often occurs when a person becomes overwhelmed with the tension within their body or cannot spontaneously help themselves catch their breath.

A person in such a condition begins to either hyperventilate or simply becomes unable to inhale and exhale normally in a rhythmic manner. For such reasons, learning about some convenient or possible breathing exercises for anxiety and depression management is essential, especially when a person may also suffer from respiratory diseases.

The suggested deep breathing exercises for anxiety and depression control in this guide can regain equilibrium in the body to prevent fatigue and other health conditions.

Effectiveness of Deep Breathing Exercises for Anxiety and Depression

Doing deep breathing exercises for anxiety can prevent panic attacks or decrease the effects of their onset on the body, which should otherwise still maintain a regulated breathing pattern to avoid feeling disturbed.

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

Furthermore, regularly practicing breathing exercises for anxiety management also helps carry oxygenated blood to various parts of the body to help focus better and improve a person’s ability to function.

Read More: Best Natural Remedies for Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Deep Breathing Exercises for Anxiety Relief & Depressive Episodes

Stressful episodes that induce anxiety or lead a person to feel depressed make them susceptible to shallow breathing patterns. In turn, even unconsciously, it disturbs the oxygen level in the blood, leading the person to feel dizziness, increased heart rate, muscle tension, and so on.

Instead, doing the following deep breathing exercises will help to prevent your body from experiencing those conditions:

Soothing Belly Breathing

  • Begin by finding a comfortable space in your surroundings that is spacious enough to allow you to lay down in a resting position. (Place a pillow under your neck and your knee)
  • Place either of your palms on the upper side of your chest. Let the other one rest on the area below your ribcage on your belly.
  • Relax your belly slowly by clenching your abdominal muscles or squeezing them but don’t force it inward.
  • Inhale with your nose slowly so that you feel your stomach rise along with your palm and subsequently feel it fall back inward towards your spine.
  • Exhale slowly while ensuring that your palm on your chest stays relatively still. Do it three to five times or for ten minutes per day, whichever feels more comfortable.

The abdominal breathing exercise will prove to be promising in reducing your stress and anxiety levels if you practice it daily.

Careful Box Breathing

It is one of the commonly suggested breathing exercises and is also among the easiest ways to break out of a stressful breathing pattern. Chances are, you’ve already performed it several times.

  • Exhale slowly till the count of four.
  • Hold your lungs for a beat before again inhaling till the count of four.
  • Again, hold your lungs for a beat, and start the pattern all over again.

Box Breathing: Techniques, Benefits, GIF, and More

It is also known as an equal breathing exercise, and it is incredibly useful in helping people breathe who may hyperventilate easily. People who often feel a spontaneous increase in their heart rate should definitely try it to stabilize themselves when they aren’t momentarily capable of performing any of the other breathing exercises for anxiety and depression relief.

Alternative Nostril Breathing

It is one of the self-explanatory breathing exercises for anxiety management, which supports a person to perform meditation or mindful breathing practice.

  • Sit down at a comfortable spot and bend your index and middle finger into your palm to leave your thumb, pinky, and your ring finger extended.
  • Close your eyes and gently carry your gaze to the ground before inhaling and exhaling once.
  • Now, block the right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril.
  • Close off the left nostril similarly and open the right nostril to exhale through it.
  • Now, keep your left nostril closed with your thumb and inhale with your right nostril.
  • Close off your right nostril now with your thumb to exhale the breath with your left nostril.

Perform at least ten to twelve rounds of this breathing exercise. Should you feel lightheaded or dizzy in-between, take a short break and breathe regularly before commencing the exercise again.

Typical 4-7-8 Breathing

You must perform this exercise with a straight back. Consider lying down on the ground upon a yoga mat or something similar before beginning this one of the most popular deep breathing exercises for anxiety management.

  • Navigate the tip of your tongue to the tissue behind your upper front side teeth. Hold it there for the whole duration of this exercise.
  • Use your mouth to exhale, which might produce a whooshing sound, which is completely acceptable.
  • Close your mouth to then use your nose for inhaling till the count of four.
  • Hold your breath for seven seconds without displacing the tip of your tongue.
  • Exhale through your mouth in eight counts as you again produce a similar whooshing sound.

Lion Breathing

Known by the name of simhasana in the Sanskrit language, this breathing exercise can help relax your jaw and face and improve the cardiovascular functions in your body besides helping you feel comfortable.

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

  • Be in a seated position with your body slightly leaning forward while both of your hands rest near-straight on your knee or the floor.
  • Space your fingers as wide as possible without moving your palm and inhale with your nose.
  • Open your mouth wide to extend your tongue so that it attempts to reach your chin and hold it there without exerting too much force on it.
  • Exhale through your mouth as best as you can so your breath passes through the root of your extended tongue.
  • Make a “ha” sound with your abdomen as you exhale and release the position to breathe normally.
  • Repeat this breathing exercise up to six times a day.

Active Pursed-Lip Breathing

Active pursed-lip breathing is one of those breathing exercises for anxiety relief that also helps a person with a lung condition by teaching them to take slower and intentional deep breaths.

  • Sit with your neck and shoulders relaxed from any strain.
  • While keeping your mouth closed, inhale with your nostrils slowly for two seconds.
  • Exhale the breath through your mouth for a count of four seconds while puckering your lips as you may do when you kiss someone.
  • Focus on maintaining the ease and steadiness of your breath as you exhale.

Practice it four or five times a day to regain a better breathing pattern that does not interfere with your wellbeing.

Relaxing Resonance Breathing

It is another one of those breathing exercises for anxiety and depression reductions that works to put you in a relaxed state.

  • Lay down on a flat surface, preferably the ground, and shut your eyes.
  • Breathe close-mouthed with your nose for six seconds but gently and without exerting pressure on your lungs to catch the maximum possible breath.
  • Exhale for six seconds as you allow your body to release the breath without forcing it out before beginning this cycle again.
  • Perform this breathing exercise for ten minutes and observe how your body responds to it.

Other Mindful Breathing Exercises for Anxiety Management

Focused Breathing

Focused and mindful breathing is among the equally rewarding deep breathing exercises for anxiety relief which helps a person regain their sense of calm in chaotic situations. One can also do it for the following reasons:

  • It helps you learn to hold your attention to the present with guided music or sound.
  • Increases your ability to hold your attention span longer.
  • If you find your thoughts drifting away, then gently take a deep breath and exhale and start again.

Simple Breathing

Simple breathing exercises for anxiety management are something you can do at any time and in any position, so be sure to try it soon.

  • Relax your shoulders and inhale gently with your nose while allowing your abdomen to expand slightly.
  • Exhale calmly with your mouth with a relaxed jaw. You may hear a whooshing sound upon exhaling.
  • Repeat it a few times as necessary until you begin to feel relaxed.

Guided Meditation

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

Yogic Breathing is known to be one of the beneficial breathing exercises for anxiety management because it involves performing lengthened exhalation, careful breathing, lion breathing, and other forms of relaxation breathing exercises. Learning Yoga will better prepare you for performing these exercises like clockwork and will allow you to maintain a proper breathing pattern.

Final Words

These deep breathing exercises for anxiety and stress management can improve blood circulation, which often gets disturbed when a person experiences insomnia, lethargy, and so on due to being in a depressive state. Furthermore, these breathing exercises allow a person to better manage their anger besides also making them capable of teaching these exercises to others who may be in immediate need of them.


Lopez Grayson

12 articles by Lopez Grayson | View Author Profile

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