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Two ways of breathing to improve mood/anxiety

Researchers from Stanford University reported how two types of breathing for 5 minutes per day were better for mood and anxiety than mindfulness meditation, where the breathing is just watched.1,2   

'Sighing', characterized by deep breaths (a large breath and an extra inhalation) followed by extended, relatively longer exhales, has been associated with psychological relief, shifts in autonomic states, and a resetting of respiratory rate.

'Box breathing' or 'tactical breathing', which military members have used for stress regulation and performance improvement, is inhaling for a count of 4, holding for a count of 4, exhaling for a count of 4 and holding again for a count of 4.3 The researchers asked participants to breathe in through their noses and out through their mouths.2

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