How to Reduce Anxiety with Breathing Exercises

How to Reduce Anxiety with Breathing Exercises

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How to Reduce Anxiety with Breathing Exercises – Thomas DeLauer

A 2010 study from the Nepal Medical College Journal found that a slower breathing style allows the parasympathetic system (which is responsible for your ability to relax) to override your sympathetic system

4-7-8 Technique

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned physician, holistic health author and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, the relaxation breathing exercise known as the 4-7-8 technique

Double Down on the Exhale

A 2006 study from the journal Medical Hypotheses found that *pranayamic* breathing techniques that rely on an exhale that is double the length of the previous inhale to inspire calming and restorative benefits

Wim Hoff Technique


1) Get comfortable and close your eyes

Sit in a meditation posture, whatever is most comfortable for you. Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction

2) Warm Up

Inhale deeply and draw the breath in until you feel a slight pressure from inside your chest on your solar plexus.

Hold this for a moment and then exhale completely. Push the air out as much as you can. Hold this for a moment. Repeat this warm up round 15 times.

3) 30 Power Breaths

Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth in short but powerful bursts. The belly is pulled inward when you are breathing out and is pulled outward when you are breathing in. Keep a steady pace and use your midriff fully.

Close your eyes and do this around 30 times or until you feel your body is saturated with oxygen; could start to feel lightheaded

4) Scan your body

During the 30 power breaths, delve into your body and become aware of it as possible. Trace your awareness up and down your body and use your intuition as to what parts lack energy and what parts are overflowing

5) The Hold

After the the 30 rapid succession of breath cycles, draw the breath in once more and fill the lungs to maximum capacity without using too much force. Then push all of the air out and hold for as long as you can.

Draw the chin in a bit so as to prevent air from coming in again. Really relax and open all energy channels in your body. Notice how all the oxygen is spreading around in your body. Hold the breath until you experience the gasp reflex on the top of your chest.

6) Recovery Breath

Inhale to full capacity. Feel your chest expanding. Release any tension in the solar plexus. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath once more.

Drop the chin to the chest and hold this for around 15 seconds. Notice that you can direct the energy with your awareness. Use this time to scan the body and see where there is no color, tension or blockages.

Study – Even Benefits Immune System

A 2012 study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine looked specifically at several hormones and cytokines (signaling molecules involved in the immune response among other things) in Wim Hof who utilized his meditation/breathing techniques (his response was compared with that of 112 other individuals)

Results: Found out that the breathing technique was able to increase his epinephrine (adrenaline) levels.

Also, norepinephrine was higher (but to a lesser extent compared to epinephrine) and cortisol levels were lower

Not only he could control the immune system but also the autonomous nervous system (specifically the sympathetic system through the increase of epinephrine)


1) Wim Hof Breathing Technique And Method: Are They Legit? (2016, August 25). Retrieved from

2) Kox M , et al. (n.d.). The influence of concentration/meditation on autonomic nervous system activity and the innate immune response: a case study. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from

3) The Wim Hof Method *Revealed* – How to Consciously Control Your Immune System. (2016, November 30). Retrieved from

4) 3 Effective Anxiety Breathing Exercises. (n.d.). Retrieved from

5) 6 Breathing Tricks To Help You Fall Asleep Faster Tonight. (2017, December 6). Retrieved from

6) Pramanik T , et al. (n.d.). Immediate effect of a slow pace breathing exercise Bhramari pranayama on blood pressure and heart rate. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from

7) Jerath R , et al. (n.d.). Physiology of long pranayamic breathing: neural respiratory elements may provide a mechanism that explains how slow deep breathing shifts the auton… – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from

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