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  • Writer's pictureRichaard Wong

Better manage stress and anxiety with this easy nasal breathing technique!

Did you know that we, human beings breathe approximately 26,000 breaths a day and that our breathing habits have a significant impact on how we live our lives? Nearly half of all human being are mouth breathers and are exhausted by the end of the day’s work. And if you're stressed or anxious, it gets worse. You'll notice how your breaths are shallow and you get tired more easily! So today, let's learn and practise how to breathe slowly and calmly in and out our nose, to help relax and reinvigorate our mind and body.

How does breathing help reduce anxiety?

When we inhale slowly and calmly through our nose, we increase the intake of oxygen molecules. The oxygen molecules travel in the bloodstream via red blood cells, and go to all the tissues in the body that contain carbon dioxide to remove and reduce it to an optimal level.

By breathing in and out calmly and slowly, you will have the power to increase and optimise the levels of oxygen in your body. As you experience the optimal levels of oxygen absorption, it will make you feel refreshed biologically, increasing your energy levels by removing toxins with each exhalation.

Breathing experiments conducted on test subjects in a controlled environment shows that an increased blood oxygen level can increase your carbon dioxide by 25 percent. Test subjects are taught to simply reduce the number of breaths by slowly down and breathing consciously through their nose, and a significant change was observed.

Additionally, during nasal breathing, your nose releases nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen blood vessels. This can help improve oxygen circulation in your body. This increase of blood circulation will also help sustain your energy throughout the day. A simple way to increase the production of nitric oxide is to hum as you exhale with your mouth closed. Humming is proven to create a 15-fold increase in nitric oxide!

Notice that whenever we're anxious or stressed, we tend to breathe quickly and when we breathe quickly our lungs only absorb about a quarter of the oxygen. That's why it's important to pay attention to how we're breathing throughout the day.

Therefore, whenever you are triggered by stress or anxiety, consciously begin the breathing exercise. Taking slower and calmer breathe through your nose, repeatedly until you notice yourself calming down. By doing this, you are increasing the comfortable pauses between breaths. And thus, calming the heart beat by increasing your oxygen and nitric oxide intake.

Nasal Breathing Technique

There are several popular breathing techniques including diaphragmatic breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, breathe of fire and more. These breathing techniques all have the same fundamental purpose and that is to use one's breath to induce relaxation and revitalisation. Personally, I use a 7-7 breathing technique:

7-7 Breathing Technique

  1. Firstly, find a comfortable place to sit upright, be relax and fully present to practise this breathing exercise.

  2. Paying close attention to your own breathing, close your mouth and breathe through your nose, placing one hand on your chest and the other on your tummy. As you naturally inhale and exhale notice the rise and fall of either your chest or tummy Breath in calmly and gently.

  3. Continue inhaling to a count of 7 – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 slowly and gently without any exertion.

  4. Now exhale to the count of 7 – 7,6,5,4,3,2,1 as you continue to empty your lungs of all the air.

  5. As you continue to inhale and exhale to the count of 7, consciously direct your breaths deeper into your tummy as you slow down your breathing and you may also want to try exhaling with a slow humming sound.

  6. Continue this relaxed breathing as comfortably as your can

When you practice this breathing technique, try to mentally direct your breathing via your nose into your nasal passage that filters and warms the air, drawing it down into your lungs and entering your blood stream. By this exchange of air, the carbon dioxide is extracted from every part of your body to relieve you of any fatigue and tension.

You can do this anytime you feel you need a boost of energy and by doing this breathing technique consciously with a closed mouth your health will gradually improve over time, giving your mood a lift and optimising your energy and motivation.

What if I'm struggling to breathe using my nose?

Some people have difficulty breathing through the nose because of a nasal congestion. By the following simple exercise can clear your nasal airways:

  1. Begin by exhaling through your nose then pinch your nose shut and hold your breath nod your head up and down, to keep your mind off the breath hold.

  2. After a while you will experience an intense sensation to breathe, un-pinch your nose and take a slow controlled breath through your nose.

  3. Keep repeating this exercise and after a while you will have comfortably cleared your nasal passage .

The more you practise breathing through your nose during the day, the easier it will be to tone the tissues and muscles in your nasal airway to stay open to optimise your breathing.

So give it a try and start a habit of breathing in and out through your nose, and when you can, try humming silently as you exhale with a closed mouth. Make it a new habit and naturally you will see an increase in your sense of motivation and thus, increase your work performance and productivity!

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