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      TAKE A BREATHER

      4 Breathing exercises to ease away anxiety

       

      These are challenging times for South Africans. Faced with the third wave in the fight against Covid-19, and an adjusted level-4 lockdown, many of us are feeling stressed and anxious because of the high levels of uncertainty we experience in our daily lives.

       

      Breathing deeply and breathing exercises can help reduce the anxiety you may be feeling:

       

      1. Try “slow breathing”

      Feel the stresses of the day melt away as you concentrate on the now:

      • Breathe in slowly through your nose for 6 seconds
      • Exhale slowly through your nose for 6 seconds
      • Repeat
      • Focus on your body and the way it relaxes as you inhale and exhale slowly

       

      1. Alternate nostril breathing

      In yoga this type of breathing is often used for relieving anxiety:

      • Start with your right nostril: close it by gently placing your finger against it
      • Breathe in a full breath through your left nostril
      • Then hold both nostrils closed for a moment
      • Now close off your left nostril
      • And breathe out through your right nostril
      • Keep alternating nostrils – breathing in through one, and out through the other

       

      1. Purse those lips

      Slow down and calm down:

      • Breathe in deeply
      • Purse your lips (as if you were going to sip through a straw)
      • Slowly blow out through pursed lips
      • This pursed lip action forces you to automatically exhale slowly
      • Repeat

       

      1. Box breathing

      Breathe out your stress, breathe in the calm, and reduce anxiety

      • Breathe in for a count of 4
      • Hold your breath for a count of 4
      • Then exhale for a count of 4
      • Wait for another count of four before inhaling again
      • Repeat

      Deep breathing can help you focus, it can also help you go to sleep. Whichever way you look at it, doing a bit of breath work can ease away the anxiety you may be feeling at the moment. Learn to relax and keep exercising regularly to boost your immune system.

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