Breathing Exercises To Reduce Stress

The fast-paced lifestyle is taking its toll on us and we all suffer from some form of stress in our life. It can be meeting deadlines for completing projects to just managing work and home life. We hardly have time to take care of ourselves and even the hours of the day seem less because of the pressure we feel. It is bound to affect our mental health but just trying to squeeze in a few minutes to practice breathing techniques can elevate our mood and help us relieve some of that pent up stress.

It’s time to take our mental health seriously and start somewhere even if it means a small step but we need to make time for ourselves and practice healthy living. So here I am listing some of the stress management tips which will focus on different types of mindfulness breathing exercises to get you started on your stress-free positive journey.

1. Pursed Lip Breathing Technique

One of the simplest and easiest one for people who are just starting to practice breathing techniques. It will help you focus on your breathing by slowing down and to put deliberate effort with each breath. You can start by practicing this technique 4-5 times in a day to perfect it and you can do it while climbing stairs, lifting things, or just when you feel sudden anxiety. Make sure your neck and shoulders are relaxed and inhale through your nose for like 2 counts keeping your mouth closed. Now pucker your lips as if you would while whistling and breathe out through your puckered lips for a count of 4.

2. Belly Breathing

This technique will help you relieve stress as well as increase your lung capacity. You can start by practicing this one for like 5 minutes 3-4 times a day. When you start, you might feel a little tired but you will adjust very fast and the technique will be easier to perform. For this, you have to lie on your back making sure your knees are a little bent and keep your head on a pillow. Now place one hand on your upper chest and one below your rib cage ensuring you can feel the movement of your diaphragm. Now inhale through your nose and feel your stomach pressing in your hands. You need to exhale through pursed lips while tightening your stomach muscles, all this while keeping your upper hand still. After practicing this for a while you can add a book on your stomach to increase the difficulty level of this exercise.

3. Focus On Breath

In this technique, you have to focus on a positive word or image along with practicing deep breathing. You can choose something that makes you happy or is just peaceful and you have to repeat it throughout your session. You can start by doing this for 10 minutes and build yourself up to at least 20 minutes. You can either sit or lie down to perform this technique. Just start focusing on your breaths and bring your entire awareness towards it but do not change the pace of your breathing. Start with alternating between normal and deep breaths for a while. Notice how your stomach expands when you perform deep breathing and how shallow breaths feel when compared to deep ones.  Now practice deep breathing for a couple of minutes and then place your one hand just below your belly button and feel the rise and fall with each inhales and exhales. You can let out a sigh while exhaling and now combine the happy or peaceful image with this technique. You can imagine your stress and anxiety going away with each exhale and you are inhaling peace and calm vibes. This deep breathing exercise is great whenever you feel anxiety or stress as that elevates our BP and our fight or flight response kicks in making us breathe faster so as to break free from it you need to practice deep breathing which will send signals to our brain to calm down and relax.

4. Resonant Breathing

This breathing tip is easy to follow and will instantly help you feel calm and composed. You need to breathe at a rate of five breaths per minute which can be done by inhaling and exhaling for the count of five. Just inhale and count to five and then exhale and count to five. Repeat this for about 5 minutes at least and feel yourself getting calmer and it also maximizes your heart rate variability.

5. Sitali Breath

This is a yoga breathing practice where you lower your body temperature and calm your mind. Sit in a comfortable position and stick out your tongue and curl it to get the outer edges together. Now inhale through the mouth and exhale through your nose. Do this for at least 5 minutes and make sure you are in a place that is free from allergens and air pollution as in this technique you need to inhale through your mouth.

We have mentioned above the stress management tips which will help you to reduce your stress. If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to mention them in the comments section below.



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