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There are many different breathing techniques out there. As mentioned above, simply inhaling and exhaling to the count of six can go a long way toward regulating your breathing and lowering your blood pressure. Be sure to breathe through your nose, not your mouth. Another variation is the "HA" breath, which involves inhaling slowly through your nose, then exhaling quickly while saying "ha" out loud.
The following is a Buteyko breathing exercise that can help reduce stress, control anxiety and quell panic attacks. This sequence helps retain and gently accumulate carbon dioxide, leading to calmer breathing and reduced anxiety. In other words, the urge to breathe will decline as you enter a more relaxed state:
Take a small breath into your nose, followed by a small breath out.
Then hold your nose for five seconds in order to hold your breath, and then release your nose to resume breathing.
Breathe normally for 10 seconds.
Repeat the sequence.
In addition to being slow and deep, ideally you want your breathing to also be very calm and light — so light that the hairs in your nose barely move. This type of breathing, which is part of the Buteyko school of thought, helps you to enter and remain in a calm, meditative state while lowering your blood pressure. The following three steps will help your breath become lighter with practice.
Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly. Your belly should move slightly in and out with each breath, and your midsection should get wider, while your chest should remain unmoving.
Close your mouth and breathe in and out through your nose. Focus your attention on the cold air coming into your nose and the slightly warmer air leaving it on the out breath.
Slowly decrease the volume of each breath, to the point it feels like you're almost not breathing at all (you'll notice your breath getting very quiet at this point). The crucial thing here is to develop a slight air hunger. This simply means there's a slight accumulation of carbon dioxide in your blood, which signals your brain to breathe.
You may feel a slight air shortage at first, but this should be tolerable. If it becomes uncomfortable, take a 15-second break and then continue. After three or four minutes of air hunger, you'll start experiencing the beneficial effects of CO2 accumulation, such as an increase in body temperature and an increase in saliva. The former is a sign of improved blood circulation; the latter a sign that your parasympathetic nervous system has been activated, which is important for stress reduction.
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