Anxiety Tool: Breathing Practice + Skill Building

praticaltools May 07, 2024

Breathwork, through deep, mindful breathing, activates the body's relaxation response, regulates the nervous system, increases oxygenation, and fosters mindfulness, interrupting negative thought patterns to alleviate anxiety symptoms effectively. Let's dig into how diaphragmatic breathing can help with anxiety:

  1.  Activating the Relaxation Response: Engaging in breathwork techniques like deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing can activate the body's relaxation response, which counters the stress response associated with anxiety. This can help reduce feelings of tension and promote a sense of calmness.
  2. Increasing Oxygenation: Deep breathing techniques involve taking slow, deep breaths, which can increase the oxygen supply to the brain and body. This can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, as shallow breathing is often associated with stress and anxiety.

  3. Regulating the Autonomic Nervous System: Conscious control of breathing can help regulate the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for controlling involuntary bodily functions, including the stress response. By slowing down the breath and focusing on rhythmic patterns, breathwork can help shift the body from a state of sympathetic arousal (fight or flight) to parasympathetic dominance (rest and digest), promoting relaxation.

  4. Increasing Mindfulness and Awareness: Breathwork often involves paying close attention to the sensations of breathing, which can promote mindfulness and present-moment awareness. This can help individuals experiencing anxiety to shift their focus away from distressing thoughts and emotions, promoting a sense of grounding and stability.

  5. Interrupting Negative Thought Patterns: Engaging in breathwork can serve as a cognitive interruption to negative thought patterns associated with anxiety. By focusing on the breath, individuals can redirect their attention away from worrisome thoughts, breaking the cycle of rumination and reducing anxiety levels.

  6. Promoting Body Awareness: Breathwork practices can increase awareness of bodily sensations and tension. This heightened awareness allows individuals to recognize signs of anxiety in the body, enabling them to intervene early with relaxation techniques before symptoms escalate.

  7. Enhancing Emotional Regulation: Breathwork can help individuals build skills for emotional regulation by providing a tool for managing intense emotions such as anxiety. By practicing breathwork regularly, individuals may develop greater resilience to stressors and improved ability to self-soothe during periods of anxiety.

Overall, breathwork offers a natural and accessible way to manage anxiety by harnessing the power of the breath to promote relaxation, mindfulness, and emotional regulation.

There is a full Breathwork 101 Series on Movement Genius. Sign up with a trial to start using them. 

Are you interested in having Movement Genius educate your colleagues or team on how to leverage breathwork in the workplace to improve their ability to manage anxiety, process stress, and increase performance? Connect with the team on the psychoeducation and skill-building sessions. 

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