6 Simple Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress

Relieve Stress
nap in the office to relieve stress

How do you relieve stress? The short answer is that there’s no way to completely eliminate stress from your life, but there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the amount of stress in your life. For example, some simple breathing exercises have been shown to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of stress in as little as eight weeks, without any changes to diet or exercise routine. Here are six breathing exercises that can help you deal with your stress levels and improve your overall health and wellness.

1) Inhale for 4 seconds

This breathing exercise can help you return to calm in a matter of minutes. Next time you’re feeling stressed, lie down on your back and place one hand on your stomach. Place your other hand on your chest, directly over your heart. Slowly inhale for four seconds, then exhale for four seconds. Continue doing so until you feel relaxed again.

2) Hold your breath for 7 seconds

It’s not as hard as it sounds, especially if you set a timer. Your goal is to hold your breath for 7 seconds, but you can repeat it as many times as you like in one sitting. Holding your breath can be a very effective way to relieve stress and anxiety—so give it a try! It should take around 10 breaths to get into a deep state of relaxation.

3) Exhale slowly through your mouth

This simple breathing exercise works on your parasympathetic nervous system. The more relaxed your body is, and the slower you breathe, the more you trigger your parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, you feel relief from stress. First, lie down flat on your back. Then close your eyes and focus on relaxing all of your muscles as much as possible. If you have trouble relaxing try concentrating on some happy thoughts or imagine yourself in a calm place until you’re completely relaxed.

4) Pull in your abdominal muscles while you exhale

This simple exercise relieves stress by mimicking how you should breathe when under pressure. Pull in your abdominal muscles as you exhale, and allow them to relax on your inhale. Repeat ten times a day while taking slow, deep breaths to relax and relieve stress throughout your body.

5) Take long, deep breaths while focusing on something around you

Being mindful while you breathe is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Focus on something in your environment that’s familiar and soothing, such as a painting or a piece of furniture. Take 10 long, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. For more on how breathing exercises can help manage stress levels in daily life, see our other related post Breathe to Calm.

6) Sit down and cross your legs (this relaxes the mind and body)

While you’re sitting down and crossing your legs, hold your index finger up to your lips and breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count to five while breathing in, then count to seven while breathing out. Take three slow breaths a day like this and you’ll begin to notice immediate stress relief.