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Learn to relax and reduce stress just by breathing deeply

Updated on July 19, 2012

Take a deep breath...

I'm not a doctor or yogi, but I have been using deep breathing to relax and de-stress for years. It works for me, so I thought I'd share my technique with others. It's easy to do, requires no special equipment, and takes just a few minutes!

photo credit

Picture a relaxing scene and breathe

Picture a relaxing scene and breathe
Picture a relaxing scene and breathe

Three easy steps to relaxation through breathing

this is how I do it

Close your eyes and breathe out. Ready?

1. Breathe in deeply. Do it slowly and deliberately, moving your diaphragm downward and letting the air expand your belly. When your lungs feel full up to your shoulders, see if you can move your diaphragm down a little more, and you will find there is extra space to be filled as you let your abdominal muscles relax, and your belly expands outward. I like to breathe in through my nose while I count to 8 in my head.

2. Hold your breath in for another count of 8. Do it comfortably and don't scrunch up your face or balloon out your cheeks. Just feel yourself relaxing as your body eases. You should feel comfortable, and not breathless or gaspy at all.

3. Exhale slowly for a count of 4-5. Try breathing out through your mouth. Do it quietly, not explosively. Nice and easy, like a slow leak.

That's it! Don't you feel better now? Try it again, and repeat as needed throughout the day.

Good times to use deep breathing

I have used this breathing technique several times each day for years. Here are some situations where it has helped me to relax and feel calm.

1. Working at a desk, in front of the computer.

2. Trying to fall asleep at night, lying down in bed.

3. During pregnancy.

4. During labor.

5. When getting blood tests or injections (I get extremely anxious and stressed around needles).

6. When upset or angry.

7. In stop and go traffic. Be sure to keep your eyes open if you do this while driving!

8. Before public speaking assignments.

9. During turbulence on an airplane.

10. Any time my shoulders or muscles feel tight.

Why I use deep breathing to relax...

Breathing is free, easy, effective, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. I've used the breathe--hold--exhale technique for years, to help quell anxiety and everyday stress. If you're looking for a natural way to calm down and feel better, give these breathing techniques a try.

Additional resources online

There are many applications for deep abdominal breathing, and you can do it anywhere. Read more about relaxation and breathing techniques at these sites.

Get more information on relaxation techniques from Amazon

Here are some tools you can use to help you learn to relax. Quiet music and a comfortable environment are helpful.

Photo credits

thanks to these photographers for sharing!

Lens photo is by Fort Photo.

Polaroid of sunrise over ocean is by picture_taking_fool.

Do you have a story or tip related to breathing for relaxation? Please share it here!

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    • StressReliever LM profile image

      StressReliever LM 

      9 years ago

      Deep Breathing is excellent for de-stressing. I use it often if I am feeling uptight, (this is when we shallow breath), and it always makes me feel so much better, Great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      i've tried deep breathing and when i do it right, i've noticed that my skin is rejuvenated and it becomes smooth and fine, it works for my face and also my body. but the problem is i don't know how i did it! i have to do it by experimenting every conceivable way of deep breathing, but it really works!...if only i can do it at will and at any time, i'd say i've found the fountain of youth!

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