Controlled breathing is natural first-aid for anxiety. It shifts your nervous system from a stressed active state - to a relaxed healing one. 4-6 breathing is one simple and proven method of controlled (conscious) breathing to try - here’s how:
1 - Sit comfortably and 'think tall' to help straighten your posture.
2 - Breath in slowly and deeply through your nose for 4 seconds
3 - Pause for a second
4 - Breath out slowly through your mouth for 6 seconds
5 - Repeat for two to three minutes.
Why does it work? A longer 'out-breath' than 'in-breath' rebalances your nervous system by keeping it in a restorative healing state 'the out breath' (similar to sleep) for longer than an active state. This lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and releases stress hormones from your bloodstream that build up when you're anxious or stressed. Studies show that 5-10 minutes of this kind of breathing daily can reduce stress hormone levels in five days.
Using this technique along with Therapeutic Writing can reduce anxiety levels and boost your self confidence if done regularly. You can rate your current stress level on a daily or weekly basis from 0 (relaxed) to 10 (highly stressed). If you find yourself under 5, unable to relax and/or over-thinking - pause and try 4-6 breathing for 2 to 3 minutes followed by 5 to 10 minutes of Therapeutic Writing. Check in again with your stress level afterwards. Feeling calmer and thinking more clearly? If so then add this practice to your regular schedule - like a gym session for your mental and emotional fitness.