Anxiety and Depression: Breath it out!

Breathing therapyThe title might be a bit far out there, but it is true. When depression and anxiety hits, one of the main actions we can take to help us make it through it is relaxing, and the simplest way to relax is by breathing. Hence, breathing can help you overcome anxiety and depression.Just to be clear, I am not saying that breathing is the only way to beat anxiety and depression, but it can be an excellent aid to help you regain control. If you suffer from anxiety attacks and depression, we strongly advise you to seek professional help.

Anxiety is an unconscious emotional state that makes us feel uneasy or anxious before some situations that we sense that we cannot control. It is a daily constant feeling that can inhibit us from enjoying life. When anxiety is prevalent for a considerable period muscle tension can occur and it can afflict us in both the dream and wakefulness. This feeling of tension will stay there and make it increasingly harder for the person to be relaxed and at ease.

Much like anxiety, depression is an emotional state that affects the mood and while we are feeling it, it can come and go. But it really never quite leaves. A Depressed person might feel better for a while, but the feeling of dread and hopelessness can return at any given time. Anxiety and depression can go hand in hand; usually one is closely linked to the other.

That is why it is important to learn to reduce the anxiety, and doing so by relaxation is a very helpful tool that we can do on our own whenever it hits us. Relaxation exercises help us to release the body and mind; it also helps us to appreciate, in general, the majority of our day to day. Although it is highly recommended to consult a professional to help us to learn to make the most of these techniques, it is also true that you can do them at home with some pretty good results.

One of the symptoms of anxiety is shallow breathing, you may find yourself suddenly, yawning or sighing deeply recklessly and continuously. At the time that you're aware of this it is highly recommended that you practice a simple breath control technique that you can practice anywhere.

1.      Inhale through the nose rather than the mouth.
2.      Softly and deeply, breathe several times. Notice as when you do it how the abdomen broadens and closes with every breath.
3.      Take a couple of deep breaths through the nose followed by slow and smooth exhalations through the mouth.

As you do this small exercise, you will start to feel calmer. Do not despair, let the breathing calm you down, give it a chance. To help it relax you must have a clear mind. This might seem impossible, but it is a bit easier to achieve if we tried while we are doing some breathing exercises. Thoughts arise without warning, and sometimes we can’t help ourselves.  Try the following steps to help you clear your head:

1.      Control your breathe, with the aforementioned technique or other technique a professional therapist might suggest.
2.      While you're doing it, concentrate only on your breathing.
3.      Count each exhalation slowly, as it occurs. Let that flood your brain your brain with each number you count.
4.      Attempt to reach at least five breaths.
5.      If a thought crosses your mind, reset and start from zero again.
6.      As you do so, you will see by increasing the number of breaths the mind will slowly go blank.

If you feel that in spite of all these exercises your state of anxiety is not reduced or you would like to make improvement in the practice of any of them, we encourage you to seek professional help from a therapist.