Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve made a blog post, I know. But like many of you, my life is quite busy at the moment and I try to do too many things at once… which I am btw really bad at! Attending to my day job, becoming a yoga instructor and better writer to share my knowledge with you, finishing the renovation of our house, preparing our move to South-East Asia … it is starting to take its toll! Sounds Familiar? Well, that’s the reason why I thought it was about time to make a post on how to de-stress your lifestyle through some simple breathing exercises for stress relief.
Attending to my day job, becoming a better writer to share my knowledge with you, finishing the renovation of our house, preparing our move to South-East Asia … it is starting to take its toll! Sounds Familiar? Well, that’s the reason why I thought it was about time to make a post on how to de-stress your lifestyle through some simple breathing exercises.
It only takes a few minutes of your time a day, but you’ll feel its benefits right away. If there is one important thing in our lives then it is our breathing. Without breath, there is no life. Do we still take the time to do this properly? Most people don’t even think about this and most of us even neglect proper breathing. Don’t wait until you are overstressed and can’t handle the pressure anymore before committing to those simple, daily exercises. Controlled breathing will help you to keep your mind and body working at their best and de-stress your lifestyle.
6 Reasons To Take Time And Learn How To Breathe Properly
- Brings inner peace. How many times did you tell yourself to take a deep breath when things go wrong or when it’s all becoming too much to handle?
- Relax physical body. Not only your mind will calm down while practicing breathing techniques but you give your muscles and whole body the time to relax as well.
- Feeling of mental alertness and improved focus. Through proper breathing exercises, more oxygen flows towards your brain and organs giving you more vital energy and you’ll be able to focus much better on the tasks at hand.
- Can reduce stress, tension, depressions, and anxiety. Taking deep and continuous breaths can help you to create a calm and relaxed feeling that may help you to prevent a panic attack or give you a moment of peace where you can reframe to go on with your life.
- Lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Those are common signs of a stressed-out lifestyle and can cause severe cardiovascular diseases. Simple breathing techniques you’re about to learn will help you to protect you from those diseases.
- Easy, effective and free. They work quickly and you can practice them at every moment and at any place when you need to give your mind and body the time to relax and they won’t cost you a single penny.
5 Easy Breathing Exercises for Stress Ready For You To Try
Most of those breathing techniques are inspired by yoga and meditation practices, but you don’t have to be an expert or even practice yoga or meditation to take a few minutes of your time to fully relax and energize your body and mind. Just try them out and see which ones work best for you. Practice them every day or whenever you feel you need a moment of peace to fully clear and relax your busy mind and body. But enough of this chit chatting, let’s surround ourselves with the power of breath.
ALSO READ: Pranayama Breathing Exercises
Technique 1: Simple Breathing Exercise, Taking Deep Breaths From Your Abdomen
When feeling stressed it is hard to breathe properly. We tend to breathe shallower and faster then what’s good for us. This breathing technique will show you how to take deep breaths straight from your abdomen.
- Find a seated position where you feel as comfortable as possible. This can be a lotus pose, a half lotus pose, your legs crossed or in front of you… all positions are ok as long as you feel comfortable. You may always use a cushion or blanket if you need one. Put your hands on your knees or in your lap. Make sure you keep your spine straight, this will help you in your breathing process.
- Close your eyes to enhance the calming effect.
- Slowly inhale through your nose and concentrate on the feeling of the air floating into your nostrils. Take a note of this gentle process.
- Fill up your lungs and feel how your belly is expanding. If you want you can place your hands on your belly to feel the rhythmic movement it is making. For some people, this works calming as well.
- Slowly exhale all the air through your nose and feel how your belly is contracting to its original position. Again focus on what’s happening with the air. Take a note of how it gently touches your nostrils on his way out.
- Repeat this simple exercise for 5 minutes or longer.
This breathing exercise for stress works well at any time and place. It shows great results before attending to an exam or any other stressful event that may occur during your day.
Technique 2: Equal Breathing (Sama Vritti)
Here I’ll show you how to focus on inhaling and exhaling for the same amount of time to focus your mind and calm your body.
- Again find a comfortable seated position and use padding if necessary.
- Close your eyes and breathe normally through your nose, focus on this process.
- When you feel comfortable start counting till four when inhaling and do the same when exhaling. This matches the length of every inhale and exhale.
- If you become more experienced in this type of breathing exercise you can aim for 5 to 8 counts per breath you take. Make sure inhale and exhale stays the same length.
- Continue this exercise for several minutes.
This technique can be done at any time or any place and as often as you want. It has a calming effect on your nervous system and reduces stress. You’ll feel more focused as well. If you’re having troubles to fall asleep because your mind is too busy with distracting thoughts, this technique can do wonders! It has the same effect as the “counting sheep” technique, it takes your mind off those distractions.
Scroll down for 3 more techniques!
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Technique 3: Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
Craving for some balance and union between right and left side of your brain? I’ll show you how to adjust your breathing to find this calming balance.
- Find a comfortable seated position. I like the normal cross-legged or half lotus position but see for yourself what suits you. Keep your spine straight and use padding when needed. The aim is to de-stress, not create more stress because you’re not sitting comfortable and can’t focus.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril.(If your familiar with yoga breathing techniques you can fold your pointer and middle finger into your palm and then close your nostril with your right thumb, this is called Vishnu Mudra)
- At the peak of your inhalation close off your left nostril using your left thumb and exhale through your right nostril.(When using Vishnu Mudra, close left nostril with your ring finger while releasing your thumb from your right nostril)
- Then inhale through the right nostril, when at the peak close it off and exhale through the left nostril
- Continue this alternation for 5 to 10 minutes.
This exercise will give you energy and provide more focus so it is not the best exercise to do before going to bed. It makes you feel more awake, like drinking coffee.
ALSO READ: 10 Natural Ways To Feel More Energized
Technique 4: Skull Shining Breath (Kapalabhati)
This breathing technique is a wake-up call for your body and mind.
- Keeps coming back, but choose a comfortable seated position and keep your spine straight.
- Take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose to prepare yourself for this “Skull Shining Breath”
- Inhale slowly and naturally through your nose to a comfortable level.
- Then exhale quick and forceful through your nose pushing your belly in.
- If you feel comfortable drive up the pass of passive inhales and forcefully exhales. Make that belly work, pumping continuously.
- Do 3 rounds of 30 breaths, between each round come back to a deep inhale and exhale.
- If you feel lightheaded at any stage of this exercise come back to a normal breathing pattern.
This type of breathing will help you to see things from another perspective and warm up your brain for action. A true and natural caffeine shot.
Technique 5: Tension Relieving Breathing Exercise
This exercise will help you to relieve stress and tension from head to toe.
- You can do this exercise when in a seated position but you can lie down comfortably on your back as well.
- Close your eyes and take deep and slow breaths through your nose.
- Focus on all your muscle groups for a couple of seconds each. Start with your toes, legs and move up from there to your knees all the way to your head. Don’t forget your thighs, neck, jaw, and eyes.
- When you have trouble to stay focused on all your muscle groups then try this variation.Breathe in through your nose and then hold your breath for a count of five. Feel how all your muscles are tensed and focus on this feeling. Then breathe out through your mouth to release all tensions.
- If you feel lightheaded or uncomfortable, then hold your breath for a shorter period or take a rest and breathe normally.
Does wonders for people who suffer from anxiety, hyperventilation and panic attacks.
How did it go? Are you feeling more relaxed and focused? Please share your thoughts or questions with me in the comment box below! If you have other methods that worked well for you, I would love to hear them and make them available for all of you!
Thanks for reading. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.