f you're feeling stressed, the best thing you can do is take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing can help you lower your heart rate and calm your body. If you're looking for more than just deep breathing, though, here are some other techniques that can help soothe your body and mind.
These exercises are easy to learn and incorporate into your daily routine.
While you may think of breathing exercises as being a part of yoga or meditation, you can do them anywhere. You can practice alone or with a partner, at work, or on the bus ride home. All you need to begin is yourself and some space.
Whether you’re looking for something simple to calm your mind and body or want to incorporate these techniques into a larger lifestyle change, these breathing techniques are easy to learn and will come in handy for reducing stress throughout your day.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing is a simple breathing exercise you can do while sitting comfortably and relaxed. To begin, breathe in through your right nostril and hold the breath for five seconds. Then breathe out through your left nostril and hold that breath for five seconds as well. Repeat this pattern seven times, then switch to inhaling through the left nostril (without holding) and exhaling through the right side (again without holding). Repeat this pattern seven times as well!
This practice is best done early in the morning before getting out of bed or just before bedtime at night. It's also helpful when you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious during your day-to-day activities.
4-7-8 Breathing (aka Relaxing Breath)
This exercise is especially useful when you’re feeling stressed out. When we get nervous or anxious, our breathing becomes shallow and quick, often making us feel more tense. By practicing the 4-7-8 method of breathing, you can slow down your heart rate and relax your muscles.
- Begin by taking a deep breath in through your nose for four seconds
- Hold your breath for seven seconds (if this feels uncomfortable, try counting slowly to 10)
- Exhale through pursed lips back out through nostrils for eight seconds
This breathing exercise is great for beginners and seasoned pros alike. It’s a quick way to center yourself and calm your body, especially when you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Simply breathe in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for 10 breaths or until you feel relaxed before continuing on with the next exercise.
This simple technique works because it helps quiet the mind by focusing on one thing: breathing. When we take time to focus on our breath instead of other thoughts or feelings (or even just the sound of silence), it allows us to relax and settle down into ourselves in a way that makes it easier to deal with difficult emotions — like sadness or anger — in our lives more effectively.
Ujjayi Breath aka Ocean Breath
You’ve probably heard of ujjayi breathing, but maybe you haven’t tried it. If you’re new to yoga or meditation, this technique can help you calm down and feel more centered. First, take a deep breath in through your nose. Then when you exhale use the muscles around your throat and lips to make a humming sound like the ocean. It sounds more complicated than it is — just breathe normally and let the sound happen naturally!
While some people prefer counting as they breathe, others find that counting slows them down too much during meditation and makes their mind wander off task. If you tend to get distracted when counting out loud or even internally during meditation sessions then try eliminating any form of number association (ex: one two three four five six seven eight nine ten) from your practice altogether until such time as it becomes more comfortable for yourself personally again.
The next technique is called the Extended Exhale. This exercise is perfect for people who love to breathe, and it's also great for anyone who wants to slow down their heart rate and relax.
- Breathe in through your nose, then exhale through your mouth: For this method, you'll want to make sure that when you inhale, you breathe in as much air as possible. As you hold the breath in your chest cavity (not too deep or shallow), count 7 in your head or say "one one thousand." Then release all of that air out of your mouth while counting an additional 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle three times.
This breathing technique helps calm the mind because it allows all other thoughts and worries to escape with each exhalation cycle until there's nothing left but pure relaxation!
All of these exercises are very easy to do and can be done anywhere.
I hope this article is helpful and you’re able to incorporate these breathing techniques into your daily life.
If you want to take what you learned and put it into action,
check out this class Breathwork Techniques for Healing and Meditation where you can practice several types of breath work techniques to improve relaxation and calm your body & mind.