Breathing Techniques Used to Cope with Stress

Stress is something that when not addressed, can pile up into a bigger issue. Chronic stress can lead to mental issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as increase your risk for diseases like heart disease. It is important to take time during the day for YOU. Kick back for 5-15 minutes with your most relaxing music and one of these breathing exercises to help with your day-to-day stress.

Belly (Diaphragmatic) Breathing

Health Benefits: Improve Attention, Reduce Stress, Improve Oxygen Intake (1)

Diaphragmatic breathing serves a great purpose for a number of health issues. Life at a desk causes you to hunch over, which can cause shallow chest breathing. This bad habit leads to poor oxygen flow, neck pain, and increased stress. The video below by Massachusetts General Hospital shows how to do this technique while standing; however, this can be hard for those new to the exercise. Therefore it is recommended to start by laying on your back with your knees pointed to the sky (hook-lying position) .

Instructions:

1. Lay on your back

2. Place your hand on your chest and stomach.

3. Breathe in through your nose and out your mouth.

4. Focus your breathing so that only your stomach rises and not your chest.

Box Breathing

Health Benefits: Reduce Anxiety, Improve Mood (2)

Box Breathing is a popular technique used to regulate stress levels and control breathing. When you feel your stress levels rising or your muscles tightening, you can help break that loop with controlled box breathing. Below, ABC Life has a video that you can follow along for a controlled version of this technique.

Instructions:

1. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4.
2. Hold that breathe for a count of 4.
3. Exhale through your mouth for a count of 4.
4. Hold for a count of 4. Repeat step 1
 
Note: It does not have to be a count of 4, find a number that works best for you and use that as your count number.

0.1 Hz (Cardiorespiratory) Breathing

Health Benefits: Help with Sleep (3)

We have all been there! Your mind is racing at night with the thoughts of the next day. It has been found that breathing at a frequency of 0.1 Hz, or one full cycle every 10 seconds, was shown to improve the time to fall asleep, sleep quality, and stabilize sleep patterns. (4) There is no better way to help relax than a good night’s sleep!

Instructions:

1. Breathe in for 5 seconds.
2. Breathe out for 5 seconds.
3. Repeat
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