Stress from work, stress from social anxiety, stress from just about anything… stress and anxieties are eventually what kills us all. However, some people are more prone to stress symptoms than others. These symptoms can include:
The list goes on… It is important to remember that most symptoms of stress and anxiety are PHYSICAL. While your mind may race and worry about whatever is causing the episode, there are things you can do to alleviate some of the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Our favorite and perhaps the easiest breathing exercise for anxiety, is square breathing (also called 4-square breathing, tactical breathing, box breathing etc.). It relies on breathing in four second intervals. Using this method to calm and control your breathing pattern slows down the fight or flight response that your body may be experiencing and calms your nerves and pulse. This technique, or variations of it, is used by military and law enforcement agencies to combat stress in the line of duty and is also similar to different yoga breathing exercises. Square breathing is also an extremely easy de-stress technique that can help clear your head if you're pressed for time and have a lot of work ahead of you. The best part about it is, it can be done anywhere, whether alone in your room or on a crowded subway train.
Find a comfortable sitting position. Inhale a slow deep breath through your nostrils. Hold the breath for a few seconds, and then through pursed lips slowly exhale. While you exhale try to lower your shoulders away from your neck. If you're not able to find a place to sit or get comfortable, don't worry, you can start the breathing pattern from any position.
Square breathing is done in this order: Inhale, Hold, Exhale, Hold. For every step, take four seconds: Inhale for Four Seconds Hold for Four Seconds Exhale for Four Seconds Hold for Four Seconds Inhale through the nose, and feel the breath fill up your belly, expanding your abdomen. As you exhale, try to empty your stomach of breath. Perform this for 2-3 minutes.