Stress can strike at the most inconvenient time. Headed into a meeting with your boss and feel those sweaty palms? Does flight anxiety make it difficult to enjoy a summertime getaway you’ve been planning for months? Take a deep breath, it’ll be okay. These breathing tips will help you keep calm and take control in every moment of your day.

Understand Your Breathing Pattern

The first step to relieving stress is taking a moment to understand your current breathing style. Focus on your breathing rhythm in both calm and stress induced states. Do you find yourself taking short, shallow breaths at high speed?  Are you a slow, deep breather? Identifying your breathing style can help you better identify those moments of stress, allowing you to take action and work toward your zen zone.

Counted Breathing

Dr. Andrew Weil developed the, “4 – 7 – 8 Breathing,” technique. The goal is to empty your lungs, lean into the breath, and reach a tranquil state. With your tongue against the top palette of your mouth and teeth, exhale hard and audibly with a, “whoosh,” sound. Inhale through your nose, counting to four and hold for a seven count, keeping your tongue in place throughout the entire exercise. Next, repeat the exhale, counting to eight. This completes one breath.

In the beginning, the “4 – 7 – 8 Breathing,” pattern could prove to be a bit challenging. The key is finding a pace that works best for you, focusing on your breath, and finding your calm.

Diaphragm Breathing

Singers understand the importance of breathing through your diaphragm. Diaphragmic breathing provides more control and helps sustain those long notes but it can also serve as a way to delve into a state of relaxation and relieve tension.

Begin this exercise by laying flat on your back with your hands on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose, visualizing the air moving down through your body, inflating your stomach. You should see and feel your stomach expanding. Hold for a second or two and exhale slowly through your mouth. Think of your happy place while practicing this breathing exercise until you feel relaxed.

Finishing Strong

So you know how to keep calm but how do you carry on throughout the rest of your crazy day? If you find yourself needing a bit more energy, there are two breathing techniques derived from common yoga practices you can utilize to put some pep in your step.

The Yogi Nose

The Nadi Shodhana is a technique used to generate energy and help you hone in on tasks at hand. Using your index finger, start by blocking your right nostril, breathing in through your left slowly. Blocking your left nostril with your index finger, exhale slowly through the right. Repeat five times, then alternate. This will help you finish your day strong and knock out those tasks you’ve been dreading throughout the day.

Need a bit more energy and a way to release some bad juju? Transition to Kapalabhati breathing. Imagine all those stressors bogging you down. Inhale through your nose and picture those stresses flowing from your mind, down through your esophagus, into your lungs. Then, forcefully exhale, releasing those factors from your body, your navel moving in toward your spine. Repeat 3 – 4 times. This should leave you feeling energized, relieved, and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

Why Does Breathing Matter?

How does finding your “whoosaaaaaaah,” correlate to helping your body relieve stress and feel better? Taking those deep, slow breathes calls both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems into action. Together they release hormones lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also reduce the risk of irritable bowel syndrome and colitis by awakening the enteric nervous system which links the body’s nervous system to the brain.

Try these breathing techniques to bring balance to your life, provide mental stability, and propel you to make the best out of every day. If anything else is stopping you live your life to the fullest, we are here to help! Click the button below to schedule an appointment!

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