The blog that helps give tools to increase your coping skills and distress tolerance in the moment.

Breathing Exercises Decrease Anxiety and Stress

Breathing can change the mind, or the state of the mind.  The scientific explanation for why it works is that there is a direct connection between nerve centers in the brain and breathing.  When activated, part of our anxiety response is to increase shallow breathing in an expectation of fight or flight. When we purposely use breathing techniques to calm down, it disrupts the signals to the arousal part of the brain.

Here are two different breathing techniques to try:

Square Breathing

  1. Breathe in for a count of 4
  2. Hold for a count of four
  3. Breathe out for a count of four
  4. Hold for a count of four
Repeat 2 to 3 times

4-7-8 Breathing

  1. Breathe in for a count of 4
  2. Hold for a count of 7
  3. Exhale for a count of 8 (this might be difficult, give it all you got).
Repeat 2 to 3 times
Laura Janikowski, LCSW