Quick: think of three things that make you feel anxious or stressed. Most of us have no trouble reeling off answers. And people who suffer from anxiety disorders — such as social anxiety, phobias, or generalized anxiety — may have a variety of triggers that send anxiety soaring. While belly breathing alone can’t fix deep-seated anxieties, it works well as a tool to help ease anxiety and garden-variety stress. Regularly engaging in belly breathing (or trying the mini strategy described below) can help you turn a fight-or-flight response into a relaxation response that’s beneficial to your health.
How should you breathe?