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Breathing exercises for anxiety: How to use Wim Hof Method

The Wim Hof Method is a breathing technique developed by Wim Hof, also known as “The Iceman.” Wim Hof is known for his ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures and has set several world records in that regard. The Wim Hof Method combines specific breathing exercises, cold exposure, and meditation techniques. This method is one of the commonly used breathing exercises for anxiety.

Breathing method instructions

The breathing method for anxiety involves deep, rhythmic inhalations and exhalations. Here’s a general overview of the Wim Hof breathing method:

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  2. Take a few deep breaths to relax.
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose, filling your lungs to their maximum capacity.
    • If you can’t breathe through your nose then mouth breathing will be okay
  4. Let go to exhale through your mouth
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 rapidly, without pausing between inhalation and exhalation. Aim for around 30 breath cycles.
  6. After the final exhalation, take a deep breath in and let it out naturally. Hold your breath after the exhalation for as long as you can comfortably manage.
  7. When you feel the urge to breathe, take a deep breath in and hold it for 15-20 seconds.
  8. Exhale and return to normal breathing. Take a moment to relax and observe any sensations in your body.

If you’d prefer to follow a simple video with visual guidance, click the below YouTube link.


It’s important to note that the Wim Hof Method should be practiced in a safe and controlled environment. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting the method.

Make sure you’re sitting or lying down during the exercise. Passing out although not common is possible, so make sure you’re not near anything that could harm you.

It is important to relax and not strain during the exercise, it is not a competition and the results are greater when fully relaxed.


The Wim Hof Method is believed to offer several potential benefits. Here are some reported benefits as claimed by practitioners:

  1. Increased energy levels: The breathing exercises of the Wim Hof Method are often associated with increased oxygen intake, which can lead to a boost in energy and feelings of vitality.
  2. Improved focus and mental clarity: Practitioners of the method claim that it enhances focus, concentration, and mental clarity. The deep breathing and meditation techniques can help calm the mind and increase mindfulness.
  3. Reduced stress levels: The breathing exercises and cold exposure techniques of the method are believed to help reduce stress, anxiety and induce relaxation. It may have a positive impact on the autonomic nervous system and stress response.
  4. Enhanced immune system response: Some studies suggest that the Wim Hof Method may have the potential to influence the immune system. Wim Hof himself has demonstrated the ability to voluntarily control his immune response, which has sparked interest among researchers.
  5. Improved cardiovascular health: The deep breathing exercises involved in the method may have positive effects on the cardiovascular system. The increased oxygen intake and regulated breathing patterns can help improve circulation and oxygenation of the body.
  6. Increased tolerance to cold: The Wim Hof Method includes exposure to cold temperatures, which can improve cold tolerance and overall resilience. Cold exposure is believed to have various physiological benefits, such as increased metabolism and improved circulation.

To see a list of completed and on-going Wim Hof related scientific research, visit the following link Wim Hof Scientific Research

My Experience

I have spent over two years practicing the Wim Hof breathing exercise every single day. The relaxation and calming effect during and after finishing the exercise are immediately noticeable and it has become a staple in my daily routine to manage the daily stresses. After a few weeks it was much easier to go longer without taking a breath, I felt more in control of my body and nervous system and I felt that it helped reduce the aches and pains in my body.

After a couple of months of consistently doing the exercise, I knew that this is something that I’d practice every day going forward. I’m able to stay better composed under pressure and feel healthier just through simple breath work.

For me, in my current part of my life, it is one of the most important moments of my day and arguably the most valuable practice of my day in terms of time & reward, as it only takes 10 minutes and the effects stay with me the whole day.


The Wim Hof breathing exercise can help a lot more than just anxiety, from low energy, chronic aches, to weak immune systems. For me personally, I use this as a tool to deal with stress in a positive way and to stay calm under pressure, this allows me to be more efficient and productive in all aspects of life, whether it’s work, exercise or appreciating the smaller things like going on a walk and being present.

This breathing method was designed to support cold exposure, which is an another amazing tool for managing stress. I’ve written a post on cold exposure and it’s benefits here.





2 responses to “Breathing exercises for anxiety: How to use Wim Hof Method”

  1. […] To withstand the pressure of the cold and make it easier to relax, I’ve been practicing the Wim Hof Method which has been really beneficial alongside cold water therapy at home, I’ve written an article all about it here. […]

  2. […] control the breath during stressful situations, to aid this further I’ve also been using the Wim Hof breathing method. All of these benefits have been extremely helpful in managing my stress and helping me perform […]

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