We all know the feeling of stress on our minds and body. Imagine your stress levels after a long day of work or being stuck in traffic. Your body may feel tenser, your heart rate elevated, or your sleep may suffer.
Research shows that deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress in our lives. Deep breathing is effortless to learn and used anytime, whether during the day or before going to bed. The next time you are feeling anxious, try this simple relaxation exercise.
Deep Breathing Exercise
- Close your eyes
- Breathe in through your nose
- Slow your breathing down
- Breathe from your relaxed belly
- Keep your breathing smooth and steady
- Breathe in slowly while counting to four, pause
- Breathe out slowly while counting to four
- Repeat steps 6 through 8 for five minutes or until you start to feel better
Tips For Deep Breathing
- It can take some time to learn deep breathing. Take time to practice each day. The more you practice, the easier it will be.
- It is usually better to practice several shorter periods of deep breathing rather than one long episode of deep breathing. Practicing more often helps you make deep breathing a habit in your lifestyle.
- Deep breathing can be done anywhere.
- If you have trouble taking deep breaths, try breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth.
- With time and practice, you will get an idea about how long you need to practice deep breathing exercises to reduce stress. Early on, it may be helpful to set a particular time limit, for example, three minutes, if you are pressed for time.
- If you feel like you cannot focus or have outside distractions, focus on counting as you breathe in and out. This will force you to only focus on your breathing.
- Keep trying. Deep breathing takes practice and can feel very different if you are not used to breathing this way. Practice it for a week or so before deciding that this is not for you.
Doing deep breathing exercises is a healthy stress management practice. Set aside some time today to slow down, check-in with yourself, and breathe!
Written by: Coach Sarah