It is quite simple in most circumstances to control the breathing patterns. Slow inhalation and exhalation together with a short break have been found to be associated with lowered anxiety and pain perception[modern_footnote]For a research paper on this see Shengai Li et al. 2014, p. 6 – „Habituation to Experimentally Induced Electrical Pain during Voluntary-Breathing Controlled Electrical Stimulation (BreEStim)“.[/modern_footnote] as well as stress reduction[modern_footnote]For an overview see Xiao Ma et al. 2017, „The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults“.[/modern_footnote].
Simple exercises focus on reguar breathing[modern_footnote]For research on this see Russo et al 2017, p. 305 – 306.[/modern_footnote], where the rhythm of breathing is held constant to relax.
One way to achieve this is the 4 seconds breathing exercise (the duration can be adjusted to personal preferences and the bodily feedback).
Breath in for four seconds, focusing on the breath streaming through your nose into your larynx and then into your lungs. Notice how your belly grows more, the deeper you let the breath come into you.
Let the breath out for four seconds. Notice the changes in your body and focus on the changes in your posture, which may be occuring on their own.
Take care to listen to your body, as it will tell you whether it needs more or less time inbetween breathing in and out.
Once you are acquainted with this breathing exercise and it feels natural to breath, you can add a short break in between breathing out and breathing in again for as long as it feels comfortable to your body.