Being stressed doesn’t just affect your day-to-day life, causing issues with your work, relationships, and more. It can also put a strain on your health over time, contributing to serious problems like heart disease, diabetes, and depression. While it’s nearly impossible to avoid stress, there are ways you can combat its effects—one of them being deep breathing.
Deep breathing is an incredibly effective way to bring some calmness back to your body when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. According to Michigan Medicine, those deep inhales and exhales cause your body to relax, decreasing your heart rate, blood pressure—essentially everything that spikes when you’re stressed.
“It helps you come back to a place of present-moment awareness,” said Kristianna George, the certified health and wellness coach behind Wellness with Kristianna, in a recent virtual class with Intuition. “Imagine with each inhale, you’re breathing in new, fresh, clean air. With each exhale, you’re letting go of any tension and any stress as it slowly melts away.”
While devoting at least five minutes a day to George’s breathing exercise for stress is recommended, even a minute is beneficial. To get started, all you need is somewhere you can sit comfortably and remain undisturbed. Then either follow along with the video below, or keep the instructions on hand so you can practice the technique anytime, anywhere.
Try This Breathing Exercise for Stress
- Find a comfortable place to sit and rest your hands on your lap. Close your eyes, if you want to.
- Notice how your body is breathing. Your breaths may be shallow, and your exhales may be shorter than your inhales. Whatever the case may be, welcome it.
- Begin lengthening your inhales and exhales, following your breaths as they meet each other.
- Even out your breaths. To do so, count as you inhale and match that same count as you exhale.
- As you continue to follow your breath, take a moment to notice how your body feels—whether it’s open, relaxed, spacious, or still a little tense—and welcome it.
- Continue these deep breaths for as long as you’d like.