Breathing Techniques Using Your Breathing For Stress Reduction

admin

This page is about using your breathing for stress reduction. Here I will show you two breathing techniques that will help you reduce the impact of stress.

On another page on this site (‘Correct Breathing’ – link at bottom of page), I examine the way in which we breathe. A part of that article is particularly relevant to this page:

‘It has been known for many hundreds of years that there is a link between the way a person breathes and that person’s state of mind: when a person is anxious or agitated, then his breaths are fast, short, shallow, and use the chest; but when a person is calm and relaxed, then his breaths come more slowly, more deeply, and more from the abdomen. But while we know that our state of mind affects the way we breathe, we also know that it is also possible to relax our state of mind deliberately – relaxing our mind by slowing and deepening our breathing.’

So the purpose of this page is to teach you breathing techniques for relaxing your mind by deliberately slowing and deepening our breathing so that you can use the techniques for stress reduction.

‘Gold Standard’ breathing!

Deep abdominal breathing is the key! Deep abdominal breathing helps create deep relaxation. So, practising deep abdominal breathing will help you achieve relaxation and help with stress reduction.

So, step one is to practice breathing correctly:

Firstly, breathe in through the nostrils unless they are blocked! You may exhale through the mouth or the nostrils.

Secondly, use the abdomen (the diaphragm that lies underneath the lungs acts as a bellows, moving downwards as your belly swells outwards slightly, so expanding the lungs by drawing them downwards) rather than the chest.

Thirdly, inhale and exhale slowly and steadily, without holding your breath. Allow the process to be natural – there will be a virtuous circle established: as you relax, your breathing will become slower and steadier; and as your breathing becomes slower and steadier, you will become more relaxed! As you continue to relax this will happen automatically – without you having to think about it.

Fourthly, the exhalation (out breath) should be about twice as long as the inhalation (in breath).

Breathing technique 1

The first breathing technique is designed to enable you to get control of your breathing and slow it down by taking breaths in a slower rhythm.

Sit comfortably, preferably with your back straight and your hands resting gently in your lap or on your knees. (It is possible to do this exercise lying down, but it is much better-done sitting.)

Take one or two deep abdominal breaths – then allow your inhalation and exhalation to be natural for a few breaths.

Breathe in (using your abdomen, and inhaling through the nose) for a count of 4; pause very briefly (this is not meant to be a ‘breath holding’ exercise);

then exhale for a count of 8. Pause briefly before starting again with the in-breath to a count of 4. Repeat this for 10 breaths.

Then inhale and exhale normally and effortlessly for a few minutes and feel the calmness that is generated within you.

Breathing technique 2

The next breathing technique is helpful for dealing with rising anxiety and panic. It’s very similar to the last exercise, but there are slight differences in the times.

Sit comfortably, preferably with your back straight and your hands resting gently in your lap or on your knees. (It is possible to do this exercise lying down, but it is much better-done sitting.)

Take one or two deep abdominal breaths – then allow your inhalation and exhalation to be natural for a few breaths.

Breathe in (using your abdomen and inhaling through the nose) for a count of 8; pause for a count of 8; then exhale for a count of 8. Pause for a count of 4 before starting again with the in-breath to a count of 8. Repeat this for 10 breaths.

Then inhale and exhale normally and effortlessly for a few minutes and feel the calmness that is generated within you.

These two simple breathing techniques should enable you to take control of your breathing, enabling you to create mental relaxation, and help with stress reduction.