Anna Gragert
Updated May 10, 2016 @ 6:06 pm
Credit: Shutterstock

When we’re living life at high-speed, we don’t often take time for ourselves. We take one look at our to-do lists and feel the need to Go! Go! Go! Yet, living this way can be both overwhelming and necessary on busy days, which is why breathing is so important. In fact, a new type of breathing exercise is meant to help us all cope with anxiety. It’s called “power breathing.”

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Institute for the Future‘s senior researcher Jane McGonigal has created an entire video for this special form of respiring. It involves exhaling for twice as long as you inhale. You can start out inhaling for two counts and exhaling for four and then work your way up to eight and sixteen. Either way, power breathing can help with panic attacks, migraines, muscle cramps, and for those situations when you’re feeling stressed and not blessed.

“[T]he reason why this works so effectively to calm yourself down is that it triggers a switch in your body’s nervous system from sympathetic nervous system state to parasympathetic. And parasympathetic is a nervous system state that’s associated with what they call ‘rest-and-digest.’ Some of that I think is for more like ‘fight-or-flight,'” states McGonigal during her video. She adds that power breathing can also assist you if you’re in a fight-or-flight state.

The reason why power breathing works so well is because it’s how your body naturally breathes when you’re in a completely calm state. When you begin to breathe like this, you’re essentially tricking your body into thinking that you’re already at rest.

Personally, we think the best part is that you can do power breathing no matter where you are. All you have to do is take a moment, pay attention to what your body is telling you, and breathe the stress away. Now you know what we’ll be doing for the next few minutes.