4 Breathing Exercises to Reduce Your Stress Right Now

Posted on June 22, 2017

According to the American Institute of Stress, deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Breathing is one way we control our breath - and controlling our breath is exactly how we can reap the most stress-reducing benefits. We tend to forget that one of the best stress relievers - our breath, is always available, isn't it?

Dan Brule, author of the book 'Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love, Business and Beyond' highlights how we can reap the most stress-reducing benefits from controlling our breath. Below are four breathing exercises from Brule's book that you can try practising:

1. "The Therapeutic Zone"
According to Brule, taking six breaths per minute is highly therapeutic. This means inhaling to a count of 5 seconds, and exhaling to a count of 5 seconds (which is: IN, 2, 3, 4, 5; OUT, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... and repeat)

2. "Alternate-Nostril Breathing"
If you want to gain control of runaway think, useless mental chatter, and an out-of-control mind, you can try this breathing exercise. Use your thumb and ring finger of your right hand to block your right nostril, then your left nostril, and repeat the cycle. Specifically, start by using your right thumb to block your right nostril. Exhale one breath through your left nostril. Next inhale one breath through the same nostril. Then, using the ring finger of your right hand, block your left nostril. Exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril. Then switch to your left nostril, exhaling and inhaling—and keep switching between nostrils.

3. "Combining Thought and Breath"
This exercise involves the combination of a phrase, affirmation or declaration with your breath. First, pick a phrase that resonates with you, such as 'I can do this". According to Brule, with each breath, stress one of the words in your statement. Breathe in each word until it percolates down through your subconscious mind to the core of your being.

4. "Fountain Breath"
Picture yourself sitting or standing in a pool of water or light. As you inhale, draw the liquid light up through your body to the top of your head. As you exhale, picture the light flowing out of the top of your head and showering down on you like a fountain. Keep doing this with each breath.

These breathing practices take practice. What is amazing is that they are always accessible, it is always with us and we can use them anytime anywhere, to navigate stress.

Category(s):Stress Management

Source material from Psych Central

Mental Health News