Practicing breathing exercises to manage depression

Practicing breathing exercises to manage depression

Recovering from depression is important to fully live in the present moment and to enjoy life. While one can take prescription drugs and undergo therapy to manage this disorder, there are certain self-help strategies that can be practiced, on a daily basis, to decrease one’s susceptibility to depression.

Sitting in front of the television for a prolonged period of time or indulging in the virtual world of social media only adds to the stress. After a hectic day, one must practice some relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, to calm the mind and feel invigorated. Some of them are simple exercises which can be done anytime, anywhere and if done on a regular basis can help eliminate any sign of depression and attain a peaceful state of mind.

Some of the breathing exercises which can help combat depression are:

Equal breathing: Achieving a state of balance is extremely important when it comes to the body and the mind. Controlled breathing can help achieve this balance. In this technique, one should inhale from the nose and do a count of four, then exhale while doing the same count. After a couple of days, one can increase the count to six or eight. This exercise helps restore focus and is especially recommended to be done at bedtime to calm the racing thoughts and ensure a restful sleep.

Abdominal breathing: In this technique, one hand should be kept on the chest and another on the abdomen. This should be followed by a deep inhalation through the nostrils. This will inflate the diaphragm so that the lungs are stretched. One should aim to do at least 6-10 deep slow breaths per minute, for at least 10 minutes. It can cause an immediate reduction in blood pressure and heart rate. It can be very helpful in controlling anxiety just before any meeting or any other stressful event.

Alternate nostril breathing: This technique brings an immediate sense of calm. One should sit in a meditative pose and close the right nostril with the right thumb. Now, deep breathing should be done via the left nostril. At the peak of breathing, with the ring finger, one should close the left nostril and exhale through the right one. This technique should be repeated for exhaling through the left nostril. This technique brings a sense of wakefulness hence; it should be avoided during bed time.

Skull shining breath: In this technique, one has to begin with very long and slow inhalation, followed by quick exhalation from the lower belly. After some time, one can increase the pace of inhalation and exhalation for a total of 10 breaths in one set. This exercise is very useful in discarding the negative energy and waking up the brain.

Progressive relaxation: This breathing exercise can help relax muscles from head to toe. In this technique, one starts from the toes. A person must close his eyes and focus on contraction and relaxation of each group of muscle. Subsequent to this, one can move upward to the knees, thighs, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw and eyes. This can lead to instant relaxation and an overall feeling of well-being.

Road to recovery

Healing from depression takes time. While breathing exercises and other self-help techniques such as, meeting with friends, reading motivational groups and eating wholesome food can accelerate the recovery process and reduce stress, there are times when the patient may not feel good, no matter what he or she does. In such a scenario, it is best to seek professional support.

If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression and is looking for depression help centers, the Depression Treatment Helpline can assist you in finding the best treatment centers for depression. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number at 866-619-7729 or chat online with one of our representatives to learn about the best treatment facilities in your vicinity.