Some people tend to take quick, shallow breaths when they’re anxious or stressed out. While this is a common unconscious coping mechanism, it can actually heighten your anxiety and make you feel worse. Taking deep, mindful breaths, on the other hand, can help relax your body and make you feel calmer. Below are some highly effective deep breathing exercises you can use to relieve stress and reduce anxiety before walking into a stressful situation.
3 Breathing Exercises That Can Help Relieve Stress
1. Coherent Breathing
Also known as resonant breathing, this simple technique helps relieve stress by optimizing your heart rate variability (HRV), which is linked to your autonomic nervous system. It involves breathing in slowly for a count of five seconds, then exhaling slowly for another count of five. Continue this pattern for at least a few minutes, pausing briefly but intentionally between each breath.
2. Abdominal Breathing
This technique (also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing) is designed to strengthen the diaphragm, which is the main muscle of the respiratory system and what allows us to breathe. To practice it, put one hand on your chest and the other on your lower abdomen. Take a large breath, pushing your abdomen out as much as you can while pulling air into your lungs. Once you can inhale no further, begin to exhale slowly, expelling all of the air out of your body while your abdomen retracts.
3. Lion’s Breath
A popular yoga technique, this exercise releases tension in the jaw, neck, and face, relaxing the body and calming the mind. Studies show that it may also help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and asthma. To try it, sit comfortably on the floor, either on your heals or with crossed legs, and breathe in deeply through your nose, filling your belly with air and opening your eyes up wide.
Once you can no longer breathe in any more air, open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and make a loud “ha” sound as you exhale through your mouth. Repeat this pattern several times.
For more tips on how to reduce stress with deep breathing techniques, get in touch with Peggy Sealfon-Stonewater Studio in Naples, FL. Certified and trained in a unique range of modalities, this life coach helps clients reduce anxiety, stress, pain, and trauma through her life-changing coaching programs and one-on-one sessions. Visit her website to learn more about how she can help you, or call (239) 821-2266 to find out when her next seminar is.