Breathing is one of the most powerful tools we have to manage stress and anxiety. By slowing down and focusing on our breath, we can calm our nervous system, reduce tension, and promote a sense of relaxation and wellbeing. Resonance breathing, also known as coherent breathing, is a specific type of breathing technique that can be particularly effective for anxiety relief.
What is Resonance Breathing?
Resonance breathing is a simple but powerful breathing technique that involves inhaling and exhaling at a specific rhythm. The goal is to create a pattern of about six breaths per minute, which is believed to stimulate the body’s natural relaxation response. When we breathe at this pace, our heart rate variability (HRV) increases, which is a sign of reduced stress and improved emotional regulation.
How to Practice Resonance Breathing:
To practice resonance breathing, find a comfortable seated or lying down position. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of four, then exhale through your nose for a count of six. Repeat this pattern for a total of six breaths, or one minute. This is a tweaked and more powerful version of the five seconds in + five seconds out pattern, that is usually associated with resonance breathing.
As you continue to practice resonance breathing, you may find that it becomes easier to maintain the six breaths per minute rhythm. You may also notice that your body begins to feel more relaxed and your mind becomes calmer and more focused.
Benefits of Resonance Breathing for Anxiety Relief:
Resonance breathing can be an effective tool for managing anxiety because it helps to regulate our body’s stress response. When we are anxious or stressed, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode, which can lead to a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and feelings of panic or overwhelm. By practicing resonance breathing, we can activate our body’s “rest and digest” response, which can help to counteract these stress symptoms.
Research has shown that resonance breathing can be effective for reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In one study, participants who practiced resonance breathing for ten weeks reported significant reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms compared to a control group.
In addition to its mental health benefits, resonance breathing may also have physical health benefits. Research has shown that it can improve cardiovascular function, lower blood pressure, and enhance immune function. A recent study concluded that “It is recommended that young adults should practice deep breathing at the resonance frequency for a few minutes every day. This would allay anxiety and stress, improve their cognitive performance, and also reduce their cardiovascular morbidity.”
If you’re looking for a simple but effective tool for managing stress and anxiety, resonance breathing may be worth trying. By practicing this technique for just a few minutes a day, you can help to calm your nervous system, reduce tension, and promote a sense of relaxation and wellbeing. Whether you’re dealing with chronic anxiety or just need a quick way to de-stress, resonance breathing can be a valuable addition to your self-care toolkit.