In addition to Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique, there are several more such exercises out there that might be worth trying also. These include…
1. Kapalbhati Breathing…In Sanskrit, kapal means “forehead” and bhati means “shining.” In addition to helping relieve stress and anxiety, benefits of doing this technique include helping to rid the lungs of carbon dioxide and fill them with fresh oxygen, keeping the digestive system and heart healthy, and improving circulation in the abdominal area.
To do this: Kneel down with your back straight and your hands resting on your knees. Breathe in through your nose, focusing all of your attention on breathing. Then contract your abdominal muscles and exhale powerfully through your mouth, using short, measured bursts.
2. Nadi Shodhana…Nadi Shodhana is another breathing technique based in the practice of yoga. It is also one of the most common forms of pranayama, or breath control. In addition to helping relieve stress and anxiety, benefits of doing this technique include achieving a sense of balance and neutrality and send signals to the brain so that the body starts relaxing. Nose breathing also conditions your breath, filtering the air and adding moisture to your breath before it enters your lungs.
To do this: Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Keep your eyes shut while doing this exercise. Close off the left nostril with the right ring finger. Inhale. Next close off the right nostril with the right thumb and exhale.
3. Pranayamic Breathing Techniques…Pranayamic Breathing Techniques are a third breathing technique. This technique involves exhaling for a length of time that twice as long as you inhale. In addition to helping to relieve stress and anxiety, benefits of this technique include helping to reset the body’s autonomic nervous system and synchronizing neural elements in the heart, lungs and brain,
To do this: Lie down in bed on your back. Inhale for three seconds. Exhale for six seconds. Repeat. Focusing on counting as you do this.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)…PMR is another breathing technique. This technique involves contracting and relaxing different muscle groups, one at a time, starting with your feet and moving up to your head. In addition to helping to relieve stress and anxiety, benefits of this technique include being able to relieve tension one area at a time as each muscle group is relaxed.
To do this: Lie on your back. Deeply inhale once through your nose. Hold your breath for three seconds as you squeeze your toes. Release your toes, while exhaling through your mouth. Next inhale and exhald while you focus on your feet. Continue breathing, flexing and releasing as you move up your body next to your calves, all the way to your head.