How breathwork can help with stress and anxiety

How breathwork can help with stress and anxiety

Part of every GROUND ritual, breathwork is an approach that can assist the body in truly surrendering and relaxing, even in moments when you feel completely overwhelmed. 

Stress and anxiety can send the nervous system into overdrive and can often affect our ability to control our own thoughts, which is where breath can be an antidote. Deep abdominal breathing activates the vagus nerve and turns on our rest and digest state, slowing the heartbeat, lower or stabilising blood pressure, and facilitating the release of strong emotions. 

There are many breathwork techniques to choose from, including breath retention, rebirthing breathwork, the Wim Hof Method, and lots more. We will be sharing our favourites in a Zoom workshop soon. There is no right or wrong technique; the most important thing is that you are in the moment, breathing deeply and bringing awareness to your breath as best you can. 

At GROUND, we're fans of the simple breath retention technique. 

Stand, sit or lie in a comfortable position, with your hands resting by your side. Close your eyes and relax your jaw, head, neck and shoulders. Breath in and out slowly and intentionally, becoming aware of your breath. 

After a few breaths, start to deepen your inhale, take a long deep breath through your nose, and fully exhale. Pay attention to how your body feels and how it moves with each inhalation and exhalation.

On your next inhale, notice when your lungs reach full capacity and pause here for a moment before exhaling fully. On the next intake of break, count the length of your breath in seconds, and then hold your breath for the same number of seconds. 

Repeat this a few times, feel your heartbeat, and connect to your body. This gives great perspective.

As you get more comfortable, try and inhale and exhale each breath to the same count (e.g. hold for four seconds, let go for four seconds). 

Try this every morning and sit with yourself for a few moments afterwards before going about your day.