Three Breathing Exercises to Ease Coronavirus Anxiety

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

With the COVID 19 taking the world by storm, it can be difficult not to be stuck in a state of anxiety. Every day, people can get worried about their health and all that’s been happening in the news and social media, not to mention the lack of preparedness for a lockdown and the increasing time spent mostly at homes.

During these tough times, we should focus not only on our physical health but also on our mental wellbeing. Luckily, you can choose a positive way to respond to stress and anxiety.

The following simple breathing exercises can help you relax and calm your emotions:

  1. 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

    This comes from Pranayama or the yogic practice of breathing, it may take a little more focus but it’s definitely worth it.

    • While seated, close your eyes.
    • Place one hand on your belly and the other over your heart, if you choose, but not necessary.
    • Inhale through your nose and softly count to four.
    • Then, hold your breath for seven seconds.
    • Once you count to seven, exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
    • Repeat three to seven times.

    Benefits: You can practice it anywhere and anytime, it can help you to fall asleep easier.

  2. Diaphragmatic Breathing

    Also known as belly breathing, this one is the simplest and can be done either sitting or lying down.

    • Close your eyes and place one hand on your belly, just under your ribs. Take some good breath.
    • Inhale through your nose, tighten your core, feel your diaphragm move when you breathe then hold for four seconds.
    • Then, exhale slowly through your mouth.
    • Practice this daily for ten minutes and perform six sets of breathing every minute.

    Benefits: It can lower your blood pressure and heart rate. It also improves your stability of your core muscle.

  3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique

    Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is an anxiety-reduction technique based on the simple practice of tensing or tightening one group of muscles at a time followed by a relaxation phase as the tension is being released.

    • While inhaling, contract one muscle group (example: upper thighs) for five to ten seconds, then exhale and suddenly release the tension from that muscle group.
    • Then, relax for ten to 20 seconds and move to the next muscle group.
    • While releasing the tension, try to focus on the changes you feel when the muscle group is relaxed. Imagery can be helpful in conjunction with the release of tension, you can imagine your anxiety as a liquid slowly flowing out of your body as you relax each muscle group.

    Benefit: PMR technique is reported to help people with insomnia fall asleep faster.

Remember, we are bigger than the anxieties that we face. Let’s keep finding reasons to stay calm and happy. We can also reach out to our friends and loved ones if things feel heavier.

Keep calm and keep safe.