You are no stranger to breathing exercises. You’ve heard the phrase, “breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth” exactly 1 million times.
Podcasts have taught you the wonders of box breathing. The Headspace app has taught you to breathe in for four, hold it for four, and breath out for six. But have you ever tried the most sexily-named of all breathing exercises: alternate nostril breathing?
Step 1: Plug one nostril. Breathe in through your open nostril as deep as you can.
Step 2: Unplug nostril, then plug the other one. Breathe out until your lungs are empty.
Step 3: Breathe in through currently open nostril as deep as you can.
Step 4: Unplug nostril, then plug other the one. Breathe out until your lungs are empty.
Repeat until calm and relaxed. Or, at least, no longer hyperventilating.
This is my go-to panic attack breathing exercise because it doesn’t involve any counting, so I can’t lose track. I am doing a physical thing that I can continue doing even if my mind is preoccupied with the worst-case scenario. Which–let’s be honest–it is.
What if your chest is too tight and you can’t find that breath? Lift your arms up and put your palms on the back of your head. This is a chest opener and makes it easier to breathe. No counting necessary here, either. Just breathe.