Things are starting to pick back up in New York and your schedule might be filling up. On top of normal life stress, you have to worry about a pandemic, so anxiety might be through the roof. To control your fear and anxiety, you can try alternate nostril breathing.
You might’ve been exposed to this breathing technique in a yoga or meditation class. Some apps might use it as a tool for relaxation. Here’s a brief video and description of how it works:
With your index finger, gently close your right nostril. Exhale fully through your left nostril, then inhale. Hold your breath, release your right nostril and gently close the left. Exhale through the right nostril, then inhale and hold. Continue to switch nostrils, breathing evenly and gently. Continue this for 5-15 minutes.
You might find that initially, one nostril breathes better than the other. After a few minutes, they should start to balance out. Try not to do forceful breaths, but keep it gentle and even. This technique was tested in a 2017 study published in BioMed Research International.
The researchers took two groups and had them perform a public speaking test (gasp). One group did alternate nostril breathing for 15 minutes before the test. The other group simply sat in the room, stewing in their own thoughts. Then, they performed the dreaded test. The group who practiced breathing beforehand had less anxiety during their performance.
This is a powerful tool you can use daily to relax. Rather than forcing yourself to sit quietly and attempt to meditate, this active breathing technique gives you something to focus on that’s proven to work.