Keep Calm and Breathe On - Simple Breathing Exercises for Migraine
Have you heard someone say “take a deep breath” when they seem overwhelmed or anxious? Those words are actually ridden with a deeper and more meaningful truth. Especially for people who suffer from migraine or tension headaches, breathing exercises could be the key to coping better.
Breathing heals. We often take for granted how something so involuntary has such a great impact on not only our physical well-being but also our mental health. To learn how to better understand and cope with your migraine attacks, a great first step could be to become more familiar with your own breathing patterns. Even the most simple breathing exercises can have real effects on your body to help control your stress levels.
Did you know? That according to Migraine Buddy users, stress is actually the most common migraine trigger? Coincidentally, a well-known benefit of controlled breathing exercises is the possible reduction of stress and anxiety, both of which are in the top 4 most common migraine triggers reported by Migraine Buddy users.
Apart from reducing ones’ stress and anxiety, proper breathing helps calm your nervous system and improves your respiratory system. It can also elevate your digestive system and even release tense muscles. Furthermore, it keeps us youthful and can improve our ability to absorb information, concentrate/memorise, and also enhances creativity and passion!
The cherry on top is that you can’t deny that breathing exercises are simple, practical and basically costs you nothing to try and do.
Here are some simple breathing and relaxation exercises you could try:
Find a quiet space without distractions. Sit somewhere comfortable for you and try to put away all your troubles and doubts just for a few minutes.
1. Deep Rhythmic Breathing
Place both your hands on your belly button, putting focus on it, “breathing into” that spot
Take a deep breath through your nose and feel your lungs slowly expanding, counting to 5 in your head
Release and breathe out slowly through your nose, counting to 5 again.
Repeat for 5-10 minutes
With every long slow breath, you should feel more relaxed and calm.
2. Visualize Your Breath
When breathing in, imagine the air going down your windpipe and filling your lungs. Imagine yourself taking in all the peacefulness and calmness as your inhale and and imagine tension leaving your body when you exhale. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
3. Cooling Breath
Gently clench your teeth, ensuring that the top and bottom touch and open your lips slightly. Take a breath through your teeth (counting to 5), and raise your chin to the sky, letting the cool air rush over your teeth and tongue. Exhale through your nose (counting to 5), lowering your chin simultaneously. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
4. Music Relaxation
We understand that a common migraine symptom is sensitivity to noise so this may not be the best technique for everyone. However, if music helps you, find a positive, comfortable place where you can listen to soothing music and just focus on doing the breathing techniques as mentioned above. A good tip would be to choose uplifting songs.
When you are more accustomed to doing the breathing exercises, you could try a “mental escape” on top of those exercises. Think positive thoughts, letting go of things out of your control and telling yourself that every day you are getting stronger.
Take a deep breath, remember you’re never alone in this fight.
From everyone at the Migraine Buddy team,
we wish you a migraine-free week ahead of you! 💜