Breathing Exercises for Relaxation & Stress Management

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Take a deep breath in. Now let it out. You may notice a difference in how you feel already. Your breath is a powerful tool to ease stress and make you feel less anxious. Some simple breathing exercises can make a big difference if you make them part of your regular routine.

Before you get started, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose a place to do your breathing exercise. It could be in your bed, on your living room floor, or in a comfortable chair.
  • Don’t force it. This can make you feel more stressed.
  • Try to do it at the same time once or twice a day.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.

Many breathing exercises take only a few minutes. When you have more time, you can do them for 10 minutes or more to get even greater benefits.

Anyone can do it…

✓ Simple

✓ Quick

✓ No equipment needed

✓ Do it anywhere

Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or manage stress.

4-7-8 Breath

This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.

1. To start, find a comfortable position, leaving your hands free and feet, flat on the ground.

2. Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.

3. Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.

4. Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of

your lungs

5. Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.

6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

* A person who cannot hold their breath for long, try a shorter pattern such as:

■ Breathe in through the nose for 2 seconds

■ Hold the breath for a count of 3 seconds

■ Exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds

Why Should I Try This?

This exercise is a natural sedative for the nervous system. This breathing exercise is subtle when you first try it, but becomes more impactful with repetition and practice. You can use this new skill before you react, whenever something upsetting happens, whenever you are aware of internal tension and to help you fall asleep.

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